KANSAS CITY, KAN—Kansas is struggling right now to balance its budget and looking to make some serious cuts. But some people in the mental health community say the Governor Sam Brownback's current proposed budget cuts too deep.
On Thursday, a group of about 300 mental health patients and advocates will be traveling to Topeka to tell lawmakers to not make what they are calling 'devastating' cuts to state mental health programs.
Eddie Taylor gets treatment for a bi-polar disorder at Side, Inc. in Kansas City, Kansas. In addition to mental health treatment and recovery, the organization also provides job counseling, training and support. Taylor says that the proposed cuts would be bad for people like him.
"It would be devastating for me and a lot of others who use mental health services," said Taylor, who is leading a group of about 50 people from KCK to Topeka on Thursday.
"We need treatment and the treatment is important to our well being," said Cindy Pokrywka, another Side, Inc. client.
The proposed cuts would eliminate a $10 million program used to pay for mental health care for the uninsured, along with $5 million for children's mental health care. The cuts are upsetting to many of the people at Side who say that treatment changed their lives.
"I have therapists, my peers, support groups, without these things I would be a basket case," said Side client Helen Dewolf.
The people at Side say that lives are on the line if the proposed cuts go through.
"I've worked with consumers who have considered suicide because things were cut and they can't get services," said Taylor