mental health – Chicago Newstips by Community Media Workshop Chicago Community Stories Mon, 08 Jan 2018 18:45:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sheriff Dart to speak on impact of clinic closings Tue, 04 Sep 2012 22:28:14 +0000 Sheriff Tom Dart’s warning last year that closing the city’s mental health clinics would add to the burden of the Cook County Jail is coming true, according to the Mental Health Movement.

Joined by mental health professionals and consumers, Dart will discuss the impact of the clinic closings on the jail — including people who could avoid incarceration if they had access to mental health services — at a forum on Wednesday, September 5, at 6:30 p.m. at Episcopal Church Nuestra Senora, 2610 N. Francisco.

Dart will be joined by Crystal Colon of Iraq Veterans Against the War and psychologist Rebecca Paz-Ford of Lurie Children’s Hospital and Northwestern University.  According to MHM, psychiatric hospitalizations doubled in April, after half of the city’s clinics were closed.

In addition, former clinic patients will talk about the devastating impact the closings had on their lives, including people suffering severe anxiety who are unable to make the long trek to clinics to which they were transferred.

Two nonprofit mental health agencies – which were supposed to pick up the slack when six city clinics were closed this spring – have gone out of business since the clinic closings, in part due to cuts in state funding, according to Matt Ginsburg-Jaeckle of MHM.   Hundreds of patients from the South Side’s Community Mental Health Closing, which closed in July, are flooding the city’s Englewood clinic, he said.

In response, the city is said to be considering opening two additional lightly-staffed “satellite clinics,” he said, though rehiring laid-off staff is not planned.  A city promise to keep the Woodlawn clinic open as an “outpost” has not materialized, he said.

MHM activists arrested when they occupied the Woodlawn clinic in April are slated to go to trial on trespassing charges on October 15.

MHM is pushing to get full funding for the clinics restored to the city’s budget.  The group is also highlighting “the multiple ways people are denied access to services,” including a shortage of social workers and psychologists in CPS schools for students traumatized by violence, and long waiting lists at the Veterans Administration, Ginsburg-Jaeckle said.

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Latinos to testify on mental health cuts Tue, 20 Mar 2012 23:55:53 +0000 Patients and staff from city mental health centers that are being closed next month by Mayor Emanuel will testify on the impact of the closures on the Latino community, Wednesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. at Resurrection Church, 3043 N. Francisco.

Although large swathes of the immigrant population will remain uninsured under federal health reform, the two centers serving the largest number of Latino clients – Back of the Yards, 4313 S. Ashland, and the Northwest center, 2354 N. Milwaukee – are among six centers slated for closing, with much of the bilingual staff to be laid off.

Former City Clerk Miguel del Valle will open the forum, and elected officials are invited to respond to comments.

Pressure is mounting on Ald. George Cardenas (12th ward), chair of the health committee, who has repeatedly promised hearings on the closings.  A resolution calling for hearings was introduced in the City Council last week and referred to the health committee.

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Mental health groups oppose cuts, privatization Thu, 04 Aug 2011 19:14:55 +0000 Mental health activists concerned about potential service cuts and privatization will hold a town hall meeting Friday with Chicago Health Commissioner Bechara Choucair.

Mental health providers and consumers will join Choucair on a panel, Friday, August 5, 5:30 p.m., in the Joyce Auditorium of Mercy Hospital, 2525 S. Michigan, 2nd floor.

The groups are demanding to be included in a task force on city-county collaboration formed by Mayor Emanuel and County President Preckwinkle.

Discussion of merging city and county health services in June report from the task force included “language that seems to be a coded way of saying we need to look at privatization,” said Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle of Southside Together Organizing for Power.  Along with the Community Mental Health Board of Chicago and AFSCME Council 31, STOP is sponsoring the town hall.

“We don’t think a merger is the answer,” said Ginsberg-Jaeckle, arguing it could lead to service reductions and pave the way to privatization.

With privatization, “there would be no accountability, no one to complain to, no guarantee that the same services would be provided,” he said.

When North Carolina privatized community-based mental health services, “it was a disaster,” he said.  “The lines exploded, the number of mental health patients who were incarcerated went way up, and there were big cost overruns.”

They’re also concerned that the city’s 2012 budget will include service cuts.  “The total money spent on mental health clinics is miniscule, it’s  .03 percent of the city budget,” said Ginsberg-Jaeckle.  The city currently spends $6 million on mental health clinics; advocates estimate it would take $15 million to have a fully-funded operation.

The city and county won’t end up saving money if the cuts mean that more people end up in emergency rooms, in jails, or in morgues, Ginsberg-Jaeckle said.  (See the Mental Health Movement’s letter to Emanuel.)

When former Mayor Daley proposed closing four South Side mental health clinics two years ago, STOP members sat in at his office and forced him to reverse the plan.