prevention costs lessI’ve  just read an interesting article by Brandi Grissom first published in The Texas Tribune entitled “Mental Health Cuts Would Strain Local Texas Jails.” This article does an excellent job of calling attention to two of the main problems with cost-cutting plans that target community-based mental health treatment – people suffer while funding cuts cost more money than they save.

Cutting those services would take a devastating human toll, Schwartz said, but it would also come at an enormous financial cost. When people with untreated mental health problems fall into crisis, it is much more expensive to provide care in an emergency room, jail or crisis center.

Betsy Schwartz, president and chief executive of Mental Health America of Greater Houston

While I understand that all levels of government are facing tough economic times and having to make difficult decisions, this strikes me as a classic case of being penny wise and pound foolish. Anyone who’s experienced an extended stay in a mental healthcare treatment facility knows full well that prevention costs far less in every way imaginable.

Photo by euthman, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.