Contact Us

Economy Taking Toll On Mental Health Service Funding [AUDIO]

Flickr User Mike Jamieson(1950)

Visits to hospital psychiatric emergency departments have climbed 20% over the last three years nationwide. More people are losing their jobs and their homes, becoming severely depressed and in need of mental health treatment. Those without a previous psychiatric history are now taxing already overburdened New Jersey emergency rooms.

Dr. Debra Wentz, chief executive officer of the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies says the state has not suffered funding cuts compared to the rest of the nation, but with a continuing economic downturn, ER’s are filling up quickly and it will remain that way in 2012.

“Its possible that more people that have mental health and addiction issues and that includes children and adults…will continue to seek out the emergency rooms if they don’t have other options.”

Wentz says uninsured patients are waiting until the need becomes so great that they have no choice but to seek treatment at a hospital, which is costing them big bucks.

“People who have lost their job and don’t have a primary care physician are turning to the ER because they are open 24 hours a day and they can get the help and treatment that they need.”

And next year could be worse, said Wentz, with people being stressed about unemployment and paying bills.

“The economy isn’t improving as rapidly as we had hoped, and 2012 could be worse because many mental health agenices are cutting programs because they simply don’t have the money. We hope that Governor Christie recognizes the need to keep the funding going to keep these services operational because without it, many patients will have no other option but to head to the ER.”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

More from WOBM AM

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://wobmam.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on WOBM-AM 1160 & 1310 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here.

Sign up for an account to comment, share your thoughts, and earn points to get great prizes.

Register on WOBM-AM 1160 & 1310 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!