Economics Ph.D. Candidate
University of California, Santa Barbara
I am currently an economics Ph.D. student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. My research interests include health economics, mental health care policy, public economics and labor economics.
My current research looks at the effects of the emergence of federally funded Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC) during the deinstitutionalization of mental health treatment in the 1970s and 80s. The objective of the Community Mental Health Center Act of 1963 was to establish 1,500-2,500 centers around the country to provide community mental health services, however, less than 800 centers were ever made operational before the grant program was dismantled and direct funding was lumped into state block grants in 1981. Although the operating centers were unable to fill the gap in mental health treatment created by the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill with community level treatment, my analysis suggests that they were successful in decreasing suicides in counties that received centers.
By exploiting data on when and where CMHCs were operational in the U.S., I find that counties with operating CMHCs experienced statistically lower male suicides rates bewteen 1973 and 1988. This decrease is driven by males aged 15-35 and over 65, which are two groups that experienced increasing suicide rates over the time period of my analysis.