Cuts to Mental Health Block Grant Program Could Wipe out Progress in Wisconsin

Trump’s budget proposal for the Mental Health Block Grant program calls for a cut of about 25 percent.  Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services has been instructed to assume that it will receive $2.3 million less than it received the previous fiscal year.  DHS will submit its budget this week.

Wisconsin Health News interviewed advocates and providers of mental health services to gain an idea of the impact of the cuts.  Here are excerpts from those comments:

Barbara Beckert, Milwaukee Office director for Disability Rights Wisconsin, said that the grant had played a key role in increasing access to community services and decreasing reliance on crisis and inpatient care.  She mentioned employment opportunities for people with mental illness and early interventions for at-risk children.

Mental Health America would lose $125,000 from its suicide prevention program.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness Wisconsin could lose $52,000 or one staff member.  Family Ties of Wisconsin, which provides peer support to parents, could lose about $58,000.

Other cuts include:  access to mental health services for people who are homeless; training for providers and efforts to reduce inpatient readmissions;

The federal House of Representatives has approved the cuts.  Wisconsin’s Senator Tammy Baldwin sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee, which has yet to approve the cuts.







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