Topeka Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center is looking at a cut of approximately $372,000 under Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposed budget.
Brownback seeks a statewide cut of $10 million from grants to community mental health centers and $5 million in a program designed to help families where children are experiencing mental health problems.
“The idea that you can cut $15 million out of mental health funding and expect to save $15 million is incorrect,” David Johnson, chief executive officer of Bert Nash, said Tuesday. “People don’t get well and problems don’t get fixed just because you are not paying for them.”
Johnson said cutting the programs will simply mean more people with mental illness will wind up in jail or hospital emergency rooms.
“I don’t think you can say anymore that people are just falling through the cracks. There are just going to be canyons out there,” he said.
Brownback has said his proposed budget cuts are necessary to close a revenue shortfall and avoid a tax increase.
If the Legislature approves Brownback’s recommendation, then Bert Nash will have experienced an estimated $1 million drop in state funding over the past several years.