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FL: Mental Health Dollars Sinking

Just as a crumbling economy brings about more depression, substance abuse and other mental-health problems, budget cuts are forcing mental-health providers to scale back their services.

The Lakeview Center, which has been the area’s main provider of mental-health services, has dramatically cut its programs. Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida, which provides low-cost counseling services to children and adults, also has reduced its staff and services.

But, in response to a loss of $2.5 million in state funding and rising health care costs, Lakeview has cut $4.3 million from next year’s budget.

In the last two months, 70 full-time positions have been eliminated, and more than a dozen mental- health programs have been scaled back, or cut outright, in order to keep the center afloat.

Meanwhile, Catholic Charities has cut two full-time counselors, leaving only a single part-time counselor, Executive Director Mark Dufva said. New clients are not being accepted.

Bembry and Dufva both say the cuts come at a bad time as economic woes translate into medical and mental issues.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are looking at the price we will pay for the economic woes that wall street has created.  The firms will go on, but the people woill lose much needed services. Is that a good exchane?

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