As the economic crisis tightens its grip on many national and international organizations, the need to recognize, understand, and help support suffering services in an effort to preserve the mental health initiatives of the past few decades is clear. Among the most recent organizations to succumb to financial woes, Homeboy Industries, a Los Angeles group providing help to recovering gang members, has recently announced a $5 million deficit along with an expectation of shutting down several of its services in the coming days and weeks.
The organization, established in a US city with one of the highest rates of gang violence, has helped those seeking to break free from gangs to acquire useful skills and re-integrate with society, a service that has proved highly valuable for those who have worked with the program. Recent cuts in donations and government contracts are cited as the most prominent causes of the financial flop, and while the organization’s administrative offices report their intention to continue honoring their financial obligations, some services, among them psychotherapy, may be shut down.
As recovering gang members are often in need of specialized psychotherapeutic care during the process of breaking away from the mental and emotional realities of gang life, the need for a swift and capable substitute is an important issue that’s sure to find several voices in the Los Angeles area. As Homeboy Industries has also traditionally provided services such as tattoo removal and parenting courses, more extensive counseling and medical services may also be called upon to reach out to this struggling demographic. It is hoped that despite the consequences of financial turmoil, the local mental health community will work to ensure that care is available for those who need it.
© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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