Mental Health Advocates deliver body bags full of testimonies about disastrous impact of clinic closures
CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–February 23, 2016. Mental Health Movement members have spent months collecting stories of the disastrous impact of Rahm Emanuel’s policies on Chicago neighborhoods, from the closure of 6 of 12 mental health clinics to the closure of 50 schools to covering up police shootings. They will spend most of the day today outside of Rahm Emanuel’s office gathering additional stories from the public and placing them all into body bags that will be delivered to the Mayor at the end of the day.
“Our goal is to help our brothers and sisters living in our city heal and be well and erase painful tears with this event. The Mental Health Movement has been working daily for seven years to ensure that the City of Chicago offers refuge in a safe place to heal and be well. We are sponsoring this event because we love Chicago and want all of it’s precious citizens to be well,” says N’Dana Carter, Mental Health Movement spokeswoman and lead organizer and a consumer at one of the remaining City of Chicago public mental health clinics.
Attention has once again been called to the disastrous impact of Rahm Emanuel’s closure of half of the city’s public mental health clinic and ongoing inaction to stabilize and save services at remaining mental health clinics. In light of the police shooting of Quentonio Legrier and Betty Jones, many in Chicago have been asking the Emanuel administration why police – rather than trained mental health professionals – are ending up in so many encounters people experiencing mental health crises. While the Emanuel administration has denied a link between increasing mental health crises and his 2012 closure of 6 of Chicago’s 12 mental health clinics, WBEZ pulled data showing that emergency room visits for mental health crises have been skyrocketing, with the biggest jump happening in 2012, the same year that Rahm Emanuel closed the clinics. Meanwhile, lived experience of those who have received services at city mental health clinics have attested to the increasing difficulty in accessing services in the neighborhoods that saw clinics close. Four of the six neighborhoods where clinics closed were on the south side in service deserts (Auburn/Gresham, Woodlawn, Beverly/Morgan Park and Back of the Yards), and since the clinic closures, two other major providers have gone out of business and one was bailed out by Cook County.
Advocates have recently introduced an ordinance to stabilize Chicago’s remaining mental health clinics by obliging the city to join managed care networks, publicize its services, adequately staff its clinics, and report to city council. Additional efforts are in the works to renew pressure for the re-opening of closed clinics.
Source: Mental Health Movement
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