ASPEN HILL, Md. (WUSA) -- Suicides are up in Montgomery County while public mental health funding has been cut by $4 million since 2009.
"It's absolutely a life and death issue," says Pamela Miller, a manager for Threshold Services, one of three agencies in Montgomery County that counts on public funding to serve mentally ill people.
Threshold has trimmed its staff 10% since 2009, because of cuts. Maryland's legislature is poised to trim more. Meanwhile, suicides in Montgomery county have numbered 193 between 2007 and 2009.
"Any more budget cuts and we would probably be forced to close down some of these sites," Miller said.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Montgomery County, along with its community partner organizations, will host an educational forum as a part of an on-going community conversation taking place in Montgomery County about the critical need to fund mental health services, despite the budget challenges that lie ahead. Organizational leaders and those whose lives have benefited from receiving mental health treatment will urge their decision makers to maintain funding as well as provide those in attendance will the tools they need to make their voices heard in the weeks to come as the Council deliberates the budget.
The forum will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring, 10309 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring.