Cost-cutting that costs us all

Step 1: Cut funding for mental health services, or continue to underfund them.
Step 2: Spend more – much more – on

  • Police
  • coroners
  • courts
  • prosecutors
  • legal aid
  • prisons
  • victims of crime
  • insurance

Genius.

Oh, and turn police into suicide prevention counsellors and executioners. Because that’s what they signed up for.

PS: And of course that’s not even counting the cost to those with mental health issues and their families when they are left without necessary care and treatment. Or to members of the community when those with anti-social forms of mental illness are untreated and put in situations where crime or violence are more likely to arise.

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6 responses to “Cost-cutting that costs us all

  1. Jesus H. Christ, what a monumentally fucked-up strategy.

    I love the circular reasoning – we’ve defunded the mental health sector so CATT teams are thin on the ground and overworked, so therefore we can’t rely on them in potentially dangerous situations and need to teach the police how not to shoot distressed people because there aren’t enough CATT teams to go round.

  2. narcoticmusing

    One of the most expensive flow on costs for reduction in spedning in mental health (and AOD for that matter) is to the acute health sector. It goes something like this:

    1 Person has a minor, treatable condition via cheap intervention or minimal medication/therapy/etc
    2. Due to inability to attain help, condition escalates.
    3. Person is admitted to hospital via emergency department (most expensive part of the health system). Every day they are in an admitted bed from the ED is multiple times more expensive than a normal and properly equipped mental health bed.
    4 rinse and repeat 2-3 because they won’t get back to 1 unless they get serious help

  3. jordanrastrick

    The worst part is, Victoria has a best-in-the-nation model for intermediate level treatment of the mentally ill which is desperately lacking around the rest of the country, which makes the false economy in this all the more tragic.

    Thankfully the greater awareness of the issue at the national level should help make up for the crap the state governments might get up to….

  4. narcoticmusing

    And yet Jordan – look at the Budget Papers and Annual reports, and people with mental illness wait on average 8+ hours for a bed in the EDs

  5. jordanrastrick

    Eight hours wait for an ED bed is potentially really, really bad, especially with some types of psychosis. But I don’t think its the main symptom of what’s wrong with the system – its what happens after care has started that needs the most work, and also everything that is involved (or should be involved) in preventing emergency situations arising in the first place.

  6. narcoticmusing

    Yup. We also have a serious problem with people accessing care (or continuing their program) post serving a term of imprisonment.

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