Concern over mental health agencies ahead of new state budget

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Some are concerned about the effects possible cuts to mental health agencies will have on resources to mental health clinics and programs.

The fear comes as the North Carolina General Assembly released a state budget Wednesday night with plans to get rid of or consolidate two of the state's nine mental health agencies.  Those agencies act as a middle man, providing funding from the state to providers.

"Cuts at the top will trickle down," said Susan Ball, executive director of the Mental Health Association in Greensboro. "It will hurt."

Susan fears reducing agencies may mean less funding which the center can't afford.

About one-third of their yearly budget comes from the state.

"Any cuts in funding would have a dire impact on the agency right now," she said. "We would not be able to provide the support to those in need."

Officials from Center Point -- a mental health agency in Winston-Salem -- say consolidating the agencies will hurt but shouldn't cause a reduction in money given to centers.

Changes Susan says could cost more than just money.

"The cost to the community is huge," ball said.

The state budget has to be approved by Gov. McCrory before becoming official.


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