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Public Statements

Recent Decrease in Mental Health Funding

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Ms. KAPTUR. Madam Speaker, in view of what has happened in Newtown, Connecticut, it is important to place on the Record the fact that our Nation has been experiencing the largest reduction in State mental health services of this generation. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, States have cumulatively cut over $1.8 billion from their mental health services between 2009 and 2011. This is the largest reduction in State mental health services in half a century.

With 1 in 17 people in America living with a serious neurological condition, how is this tremendous decrease in funding possible or humane?

Often, those who suffer the most are angels of destiny. According to a report from the Federal Bureau of Justice statistics, more than half of our country's prison population suffers or has suffered from mental disorders, but only a fraction of that population receives treatment during their incarceration. And, in fact, individuals with mental illness are far more likely to be victims of crime than the perpetrators.

Newtown is a national tragedy, Madam Speaker, but it reveals again our shared responsibility to support and treat those in this country who need our help so desperately. I urge our colleagues to support a more constructive Federal role in assuring proper and early diagnosis and intervention of affected youth and appropriate treatment.

I congratulate President Obama and Vice President Biden for their leadership in moving our Nation to a better day for us all. So many of us here in Congress wish to join them in this great national challenge.

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