Access Denied? The State of Mental Health Services in Illinois

In tight money days, funds have markedly slowed and and mental health organizations in Illinois have struggled.

Some have cut back and some have trimmed their goals.

But how much precisely have they struggled?

We’ll examine the price paid by organizations and those in need of mental health services at our news briefing on Tuesday, June 16th from 10 am to noon at 33 E. Congress, Columbia College, room 101.

We’ll also hear about the state of the Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA) 25 years after its passage. What have been the victories? What more needs to be done?

What too is the likely impact of future funding cutbacks?

In its recent report on Illinois, the National Alliance on Mental Illness gave this assessment:

“What happens if people living with mental illness have nowhere to go to get treatment?

“What data demonstrates, is that when people living with serious mental illness don’t receive services they often end up in in the emergency room (ER), or in jail, or experiencing homelessness. And too often, all of the above happens. Here’s a snapshot of what has happened in Illinois since funding cuts took place in FY2009:

  • Emergency room visits for people experiencing psychiatric crises increased by 19% between 2009 and 2012.
  • Studies show that over 60% of incarcerated individuals meet diagnostic criteria for mental illness.That means that of the approximately 76,400 people who were admitted to Cook County Jail (CCJ) in 2012, 45,840 were people living with mental illness. CCJ is now considered one of, if not, the largest mental health care provider in the country. Studies show that for many people living with mental illness, the only time they get treatment is when they are in jail.
  • The total number of nights spent in a shelter statewide increased from 2,000,000 in FY2011 to 3,041,000 in FY2013. The National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates that approximately 32% of the 14,144 individuals who currently experience homelessness on any given night in Illinois have a serious mental illness.What is the state of mental health services in Illinois?From FY2009-FY2012, Illinois cut $113.7 million in general revenue funding for mental health services. Illinois made some of the largest cuts in mental health funding nationwide during this time period. In fact, only California and New York cut more from their budgets than Illinois did.”
  • here’s a link to their report:

Join us as as we search for answers, and for data, contacts and stories that tell us about the state of disability services in Illinois in 2015.


photo: Progress Illinois

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