The Mental Health Minute

Articles and news about mental health issues

Singer Mental Health Center Hearing: Don’t Cut Patient Care

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Image by Ed Yourdon via Flickr

Here’s an article from MyStateLine.com that talks about how state budget cuts in Illinois are going to affect the mentally ill there.  It really is a shame to lose Mental Health Centers, because they provide on-going services to community based patients.  They have counseling, group therapy, medication management, etc. at the Center which then helps to keep these people out of the psychiatric hospitals.  Cutting these funds is not really a good idea, but for politicians who have no experience with the mentally ill, they feel it is wasted money.

Where will these people go?  To the streets, to the hospitals, into ambulances, to jail, to prison–because they are mentally ill and can not maintain on their own in the communities.  Shame on you, politicians!

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A debate rages in Rockford over whether to close Singer Mental Health Center.

Local leaders oppose Governor Quinn’s plan to shut it down. And tonight was the first public meeting on the issue.

The state agency responsible for running Illinois’ mental hospitals says it faces a 140 million dollar shortfall.

And that lawmakers have forced it to take drastic action.

Singer Mental Health Center is just one of nine mental health centers across Illinois. But the State wants to cut that number down to two. State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato says that’s a shortsighted decision.

“If you choose the mental health centers to save money, what you’re going to do is cause increased costs at other points in the system.”

Bruscato joined a rally with union workers and nurses against closing Singer. They want the state commission in charge of closing facilities to get one clear message, Singer provides care no one else can.

“We take people without insurance who are unable to be taken in private hospitals, we take people with criminal charges.”

Singer Psychologist Robert Izral says these patients often end up in jail without treatment.

“That’s the most inappropriate place for these patients to go.”

And County Sheriff Richard Meyers says the jail already has more inmates than planned. It can’t take over for state mental hospitals.

“The last thing we need as a unit of local government is to try to use our jail as a substitute for mental health facilities, we can’t match the quality of care.”

The state proposes transferring these patients to private hospitals. It has a number of incentive programs it can offer. Winnebago County Board chairman Scott Christiansen says that might be able to work, but it’s a decision the state can’t make quickly.

“We may have facilities that could be able to take over some of these responsibilities, but you got to give it some time, and when I say time, I’m saying two or three years.”

Tonight’s hearing is just the beginning of a very long process.

The state commission needs to hold hearings for the other mental health centers.

And lawmakers could still find more money for the centers in this falls legislative session.

Be sure to visit this site and read the  comments; maybe leave one of your own while your are there.

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October 7, 2011 - Posted by | Mental Health | , , , , ,

6 Comments »

  1. Mental health institutions should be well-maintained and be given the funds to serve and help others who are in need. Most people overlook the importance of sustaining a functional venue for this matter. It should be improved, and never have to be cut down.

    Comment by Behavioral Crossroads | October 7, 2011 | Reply

    • Chuck, I could not agree with you more. Mental Health Clinics and hospitals do much to protect both these individuals and the population in the community.

      Comment by Shirley | October 8, 2011 | Reply

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  4. […] Note: this photo was published in a Sep 14, 2010 blog titled "Helping the Chronically Homeless Stay Right on Mark." It was also published in a Feb 7, 2011 blog titled "Super Bowls (and Other Major Sporting Events) Are Terrible for Homeless People." And a cropped version of the photo was published in a Mar 29, 2011 blog titled "Suburban Minn. Sees Surge of Homeless." It was also published in an Aug 31, 2011 blog titled "Latest Signs Of Depression In Men News." And it was published in an Oct 7, 2011 blog titled "Singer Mental Health Center Hearing: Don’t Cut Patient Care." […]

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