Descent to Barbarism

Utah’s largest mental health provider, Valley Mental Health, after years of wrenching budget cuts, recently sent out letter to 2,200 of its clients.

“For those who are doing well, we will stop providing services.”

In the same breath it says “no one would be left without mental health coverage.”  That “all of the 2,200 patients will be able to receive similar services from a network of clinics, counselors and treatment centers across Salt Lake County…”


Of the two injuries, callous notification by the provider and refusal to take care of those least able to take care of themselves by the State of Utah, clearly the latter is more devastating.

The essence of civilization is recognizing that some among us need help from others.  The decades long move, increasing in recent years among the radical right, to deny any responsibility for the poor, the ill, the injured and the less capable is a clear descent to barbarism.

That this would happen in a state where religious precepts should strengthen the resolve to help the less fortunate, is a double condemnation of the cruelty gaining traction in the hallways of power.

Valley Mental Health, which had about 10,000 clients before the recent reductions, is by far the largest and most expansive mental health agency in the state. It treats autistic children, recently released prisoners, people who have just attempted suicide and those who need little more than prescription refills to help manage their depression or anxiety.

The organization has also faced years of money problems. In 2009, it announced plans to lay off more than 100 employees and slash several programs to cope with drastic budget shortfalls. Over the past two years, Valley Mental Health said, its $28 million budget fell by more than $5 million, as the county received less in Medicaid payments…


For shame.

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