Mental Health Rally against 9C Cuts
On Tuesday, a couple of hundred consumers and providers in the mental health community gathered at the Grand Staircase in the State House to protest cuts made by the Governor earlier this fall. The Governor, using his 9C authority, made what some in attendance at the event called disproportionate cuts to mental health programs and services. The press conference was sponsored by prominent mental health advocacy groups including NAMI-Massachusetts, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Massachusetts Clubhouse Coalition, the local chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, Massachusetts Psychiatric Society and Massachusetts Psychological Association.
Approximately $8 million from the DMH budget that funds residential day centers for adults across the state were cut. Toby Fisher, Policy Director of NAMI-Massachusetts spoke on the importance of maintaining these programs in order to help keep the mentally ill population productive and safe. Rose, a consumer and member of the Cambridge – Somerville Social Club stated her residential day program will close on December 31 because of the cuts. A staff member from a Taunton program pointed out that hospitalization is not the sole way of treating the mentally and emphasized that social programs allow patients to gain the skills necessary for a sense of independence.
Following the conclusion of the press conference, the group marched to the Governor’s office to submit a petition calling the cuts “unwise, unfair and unsafe”. Nearly 1,000 supporters signed the petition. The organizers of this press conference said yesterday’s event was part of a 2-3 week campaign to bring awareness to this issue.