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Washtenaw County officals concerned about state cuts to mental health services


Washtenaw County officials are concerned about how state cuts to general funds that provide mental health services are affecting the community. 

Felicia Brabec is a chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners.

Brabec says the county has lost $3.5 million in general funds that provide mental health services since 2013. She says it's about a 40% reduction.   

She says that the general funds help residents who don't qualify for Medicaid, including people who have third-party insurance. She also says people in state hospitals receive services from the funds. 

"For instance they (third-party insurance) cover things like psychiatry, nursing or therapy. But they don't cover things like case management, vocational training or residential services," Brabec said. 

She says that people who don't get services tend to end up in the emergency rooms and even jails. 

Sally O'Neal, interim executive director of Washtenaw Community Health Organization, said in a press release that the cuts have been devastating.  

“We are starting to turn away people who we’ve served for years with case management and support services. Once those services are gone, we’ll see them again, but when they are in crisis,” O’Neal said.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in four adults will experience mental illness in a given year. 

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