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SEATTLE, WA. – Dr. Ellen Carruth, a professor at City University of Seattle, led a research team of Master of Arts in Counseling students as they explored the impacts of state budget cuts on consumers of community mental health in Washington State’s largest county – King County.

Rather than focusing their analysis on clients, the team concentrated on service providers and clinicians who serve vulnerable populations needing treatment for mental illness and/or substance abuse; and specifically wanted to know how these clinicians’ clients were and continue to be affected by budget cuts. The research included in-depth interviews and focus groups with clinicians in private and public sectors. One of the most significant data points was around the correlation between availability of services and state budget cuts. The data showed that cutting services primarily impacted the most vulnerable members of Washington State’s communities; and therefore, increased existing disparities in both socioeconomic status and access to critical resources.

This research project – “Finding Their Voice: The Impact of Budget Cuts on Recovery for Consumers of Community Mental Health,” – will be presented at the annual American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA) Conference on Saturday, July 12. Dr. Carruth will be accompanied by two of her teammates who are now graduates of CityU, Jaime White and Tristan Benson.

According to Dr. Carruth, “Clinicians who work with community mental health clients are too familiar with the recent spate of budget cuts in Washington State that have affected service delivery. Our presentation offers a unique angle into the ways that budget cuts have directly impacted clients’ recovery, from the clinician’s perspective. Our research tells the stories of many and sheds light on how these cuts directly influence the lives of clients, clinicians, and communities around Washington State.”

For more information on this project and the research team, visit CityU’s blog.

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