Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner has announced that a recent audit revealed that complex procedures and internal deficiencies in the County's Department of Human Services (DHS) could prevent people who are seeking mental health services from getting the help they need.
Wagner and District Attorney Stephen Zappala have jointly investigated DHS’ contracted work with Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic’s Re:Solve Crisis Network. Wagner pointed out the decline in funding for mental health programs nationally and statewide. She thinks Allegheny County needs to look at ways to best provide services with limited funding in mind.
Jamie Harris, Director of Advocacy Services at Mental Health America Allegheny County says lack of access to mental health treatment is indeed influenced by cuts in funding, but also the stigmatization of those with a mental illness.
“Stigma occurs when there are negative attitudes and beliefs that motivate the general public to fear, reject, avoid and discriminate against people with mental illness. It leads to isolation...it can make people avoid mental health services because of how others may see them.”
Find out more about the UPMC Re:solve Crisis Network
For community based access to mental health services contact Mental Health America Allegheny County