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Idaho Court Survey Shows Increase in Mental Illness Cases

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An annual report from the Idaho Supreme Court shows that the state has seen a dramatic increase in the number of involuntary commitment cases filed for people with mental illness.

Last year more than 4,500 involuntary commitment cases were filed in state courts — an 82 percent increase compared to five years ago. Idaho Supreme Court administrator Patti Tobias says an informal poll of magistrate judges throughout the state has some speculating that cuts to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, a lack of affordable mental health care, drug abuse, limited health care access and the faltering economy could all be contributing factors.

Nearly three dozen workers were laid off from the state’s Adult Mental Health program starting in 2009, and services were scaled back in recent years.

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