Star Ledger Editorial Board
Given the fiscal crisis, New Jersey needs to find a truckload of smart spending cuts. But the Christie administration's plan to limit spending on those with serious mental illnesses could backfire, as the same type of effort has in other states.
For starters, let's understand what's at stake. This change would cut funding to threadbare community mental health centers, which are the last resort for those with mental illness and no money for private treatment.
The change would affect places like CarePlus, in Bergen County, which plasters its phone number across the George Washington Bridge to save would-be jumpers.
Police refer many clients there as well. One recently drove his car into a building and attempted suicide-by-cop during a bout of psychosis. Another ended up fatally shooting his wife in front of their 12-year-old kid, then himself.
These centers treat people who have no place else to go, are who are rendered desperate, and sometimes dangerous, by their illnesses. So there is no room for error.