Thursday, March 18, 2010


Hawaii’s deadly cuts in mental health services demand state response

by Larry Geller

A measureable and significant increase in avoidable deaths was reported in testimony given to informational briefing on state administration cutbacks in adult mental health services on Tuesday, March 16, 2010. This briefing was an opportunity for the public to give testimony, following previous briefings by the administration.

The first testimony was taken under oath, and after just a few minutes the news came out—a 36% increase in deaths 2009 over 2008 has been recorded.

These avoidable deaths can be attributed to cutbacks in state services to adult mental health patients.

I did not notice any press in the room, so here is a video snip. Towards the end is the blockbuster. This news should not be disappeared.

Yes, the Lingle administration is planning more cuts. We heard that services now provided by the Adult Mental Health Division of the Department of Health will be rolled into the QExA managed care system. Unfortunately, it was reported also that this could cut off access to psychiatrists on Maui and perhaps other Neighbor Islands.

Unless something is done, predictably, more people will die because of these service cuts.

Hawaii's infamous Furlough Fridays that crippled K12 education continue today with no solution so far. Will we be as ineffective about stopping the avoidable deaths caused by heartless service cuts?

And why have there not been protests or even resignations from within the Department of Health over these deadly cutbacks? Do doctors still take the Hippocratic Oath to cause no harm?



When there is no money there is no money. The testimony was based on opinion not data. Don't depend on the governement to take care of you - it's time people take care of themselves and loved ones.

Actually, Anonymous, the testimony was based on data and not opinion and was obtained under oath. Suggest you watch the video.

Thank you for bringing attention to this very important hearing. I was there and also alarmed by the grim statistics cited by Dr. McLaughlin. The public need to know that budget cuts to mental health services are already leading to increases in death and that increases in unmedicated or improperly medicated mentally could jeopardize public safety.

Eileen Uchima
NAMI Hawaii

Unfortunately the mentally ill have a harder time getting family and friends to help as most of them have families who would rather not have to take care of them, and their friends well, if you are a long term mental ill person the only friends you have are others in the same situation as you. And if your illness means you need to rely on the government for your health services, food, housing and you can not deal with the workers at those government agencies well then you are s.o.l. I am having huge difficulties with the food stamp office right now. I have had my food stamps cut when they should have been increased. My worker claims I did not send in the paperwork, I did, and I can prove it, I sent it certified return receipt requested, I showed my receipt and oh my well I guess the paper work was here all along. anyway, it is still incorrect. I want to file a class action suit against them. I am looking for legal help. I have others in my same situation with the same worker, and the supervisor is not helping...anyway, sorry I need to rant.

Perhaps the Hawaii Disability Rights Center can help. Another possibility is NAMI. Or if those can't help, please drop me an email (click on the "Larry" just below.

yeah,well good luck. as you are a consumer on State benefits, getting help from the state........
no one will help you as it is "conflict of interest" so forget about protocal and finding anyone to do anything about it. The best bet is go to the federal gov't and report them . They will follow up an investigation on the State and the workers. It can be one. This whole State is so corrupt,no one will report anything as it will include the domino effect.....

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