The City of Chicago only has 12 public mental health clinics. This is not enough to meet demand, especially as the economy gets worse and more people need help. These clinics aren’t just for patients to get medicine, they are places where people have community, where people feel at home in their own neighborhoods or close by.
Shutting them down means saving now on services only to spend more later when patients end up in jail, on the street, in emergency rooms, or dead. And now The city budget would CLOSE 1/2 OF OUR MENTAL HEALTH CLINICS AND PRIVATIZE ALL OTHER CITY CLINICS!
This is not the first attempt to close Chicago public mental health clinics. In 2009, Chicago made billing errors and lost out on millions of dollars in state funding, causing them to try to close four south side mental health clinics all in already under-served communities. We had protests, town hall meetings, city council hearings and even a sit in at Mayor Daley’s office to stop the clinics from closing.
And now it's happening----and all to save 2.2 million from Chicago's over 6 BILLION DOLLAR budget.
This is NOT how you balance a budget! TELL THE ALDERMEN AND ALDERWOMEN OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO NOT TO CLOSE AND PRIVATIZE OUR PUBLIC HEALTH CLINICS!
Shutting these clinics down means saving on services temporarily-----only to spend more later when patients end up in jail, on the street, in emergency rooms, or deceased. Suzanne Andriukaitis, the Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Chicago recently stated that it costs $500 a day to keep someone in a hospital, $70 a day to keep them in jail, and just $25 a day to provide them care in the community. Keeping Chicago's public mental health facilities open and public is the most affordable option for our budget.
The City of Chicago cannot afford cuts to it's public mental health facilities. A much better solution would be to leverage the yacht tax and to eliminate the newly acquired expenses & surveys from the Department of Health to aid in keeping these facilities open as proposed by the Illinois Nurses Association (INA), Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP), and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
Only you as the Commissioner of Health, members of the Committee on Health & Environmental Protection, and members of the Committee on Finance have the power to ensure that the people that require the services and jobs of Chicago's public mental health facilities will be able to continue to utilize them.
Please, make sure our public mental health facilities stay operational and stay public.