Dozens of states have slashed spending on mental health care over the last four years, either because of the recession's toll on revenue or a new zeal to shrink government.
But that trend may be heading for a U-turn in 2013 after last year's shooting rampages by two mentally disturbed gunmen.
The reversal is especially jarring in statehouses dominated by conservative Republicans, who aggressively cut welfare programs but now find themselves caught in a crosscurrent of pressures involving gun control, public safety and health care for millions of disadvantaged Americans.
Shelley Chandler is executive director of the Iowa Alliance of Community Providers. She says lawmakers in some states have begun to recognize that their cuts "may have gone too deep."