State budget cuts are hitting home in New Orleans with the announcement that mental health services will be reduced. That’s the topic of this week’s commentary by Eyewitness News Political Analyst and Gambit columnist Clancy DuBos.
Clancy DuBos / Eyewitness News Political Analyst
NEW ORLEANS -- There’s nothing new about news that government budget cuts fall hardest upon those most in need, but least able to fight back. Thus, the LSU System has announced cuts to mental health services for the uninsured in New Orleans.
Gov. Bobby Jindal ordered cuts statewide because revenues this year are lower than expected.
This latest round of cuts comes after Jindal shut down New Orleans Adolescent Hospital several years ago. Clearly, this problem is getting worse.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu is asking the state not to cut mental health. Jindal says it’s LSU’s decision, not his. Landrieu is right when he says mental health services are critical to fighting crime.
But the mayor is not without some blame himself. His latest city budget provided no money for mental health counselors at Municipal Court — a city court where people with those problems are most likely to wind up.
There’s no denying that many New Orleanians still struggle to recover, psychologically, from Hurricane Katrina. There’s also no denying that every level of government shares responsibility for funding mental health services adequately.
Sooner or later, we all pay a price when they fail to live up to that responsibility.
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