Letter: Protect restored funding for mental health

To the Editors:
Gov. Malloy’s initial budget proposal this winter would have had a terrible impact on families coping with devastating mental illness or developmental disabilities. The proposed cuts would have affected Medicaid coverage, basic services, and legal support, as well as the evaluation, community education, advocacy, and prevention work done by the Regional Mental Health Boards and Regional Action Councils.
Fortunately, both political parties recognized the cuts posed too great a threat to our quality of life. Both sides supported restoring most (not all) funding to the safety net. After all, people with psychiatric and developmental disabilities don’t disappear when their services get cut! They just end up requiring emergency services such as hospitalization, which ultimately cost much more.
After a long and hard session, the legislature passed a budget that represented an effort to balance essential services and past and current financial realities. Yet now — after the end of the session — there is yet another proposal to modify the plan, make cuts to services after all, and return to the drawing board.
I urge our legislative leaders to protect the restored funding for human and social services as they move forward with the budget as quickly as possible. Let’s capitalize on the hard work that has already gone into the plan, not further derail needed programs and services with two weeks left in the fiscal year.
Isabel Zayas
Wilton, June 15