Reagan-era cuts slashed mental health care

2011-01-22T11:34:00Z Reagan-era cuts slashed mental health careONLINE ONLY letter to the editor
January 22, 2011 11:34 am  • 

It’s unknown if Sarah Palin’s inflammatory language and imagery played any part in the recent shooting in Arizona but there can be no doubt about Ronald Reagan’s culpability in this and countless other incidents every year.

When I was in school at the University of Montana I worked at Opportunity Workshop on a work-study job until funding was eliminated and I was forced to quit school. While it was a very rewarding job in so many ways it was heartbreaking in many others as I saw the result of Reagan’s severe cuts in mental health funding come to fruition. His theory was that “personal responsibility” dictated that families should be forced to deal with their family members on their own if they suffered from mental illness.

The Arizona shooting demonstrates how well this works and why this is not a time to be repealing health care but instead to begin restoring funding to mental health treatment.

A very large portion of our homeless population would have been living in some sort of institutional setting before all of these cuts took place. We need to ask ourselves if we are really saving any money dealing with them in jails and emergency rooms and homeless “shelters” rather than more traditional mental health institutions.

And had the $12,700 that was saved from cutting my job not been cut, my increased earnings from the degree would have come back in taxes 100-fold. Trying to undo Barack Obama’s changes to the student loan program is truly a fool’s errand.

Bob Petersen,


Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Missoulian Civil Dialogue Policy

Civil Dialogue Policy for Commenting on

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Comments can only be submitted by registered users. By posting comments on our site, you are agreeing to the following terms:

Commentary and photos submitted to the Missoulian ( may be published or distributed in print, electronically or other forms. Opinions expressed in's comments reflect the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Missoulian or its parent company. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Our guidelines prohibit the solicitation of products or services, the impersonation of another site user, threatening or harassing postings and the use of vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language, defamatory or illegal material. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification. It's fine to criticize ideas, but ad hominem attacks on other site users are prohibited. Users who violate those standards may lose their privileges on

You may not post copyrighted material from another publication. (Link to it instead, using a headline or very brief excerpt.)

No short policy such as this can spell out all possible instances of material or behavior that we might deem to be a violation of our publishing standards, and we reserve the right to remove any material posted to the site.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick