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Report: Mental Health Budget Cuts Put Staff At Risk

A task force launched after a counselor was killed in a publicly-funded mental health facility has found that the state’s decimated mental health budget is putting staff at risk, according to the Associated Press. In a report released yesterday, the task force issued a set of 17 recommendations to help improve workers’ safety at state-run facilities.

Among the recommendations are a significant increase in spending over the next five years in the mental health system and an increase in the number of beds and services available for those suffering from mental illness.

The report also recommends giving all those who provide direct care in mental health facilities with a reliable way to rapidly summon assistance when needed, such as an electronic alarm.

The task force was appointed after the body of 25-year-old Stephanie Moulton was found stabbed in Lynn earlier this year. A resident of the North Suffolk Mental Health Association facility where Moulton worked has been charged with her death.

The report paints a picture of a mental health system straining under years of budget cuts, which have led to a breakdown in communication, increasing caseloads of people with more acute needs and the fostering of a system that is “unable to consistently provide more intensive services when needed.

A chart from the task force’s report:

 

The Association of Behavioral Healthcare issued a statement today on the report: Continue reading