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Mayor Emanuel's Cuts Mental Health Services -- We Need a Comprehensive Mental Health Plan

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)
December 10, 2011

Recently the Chicago City Council passed the Mayor’s budget eliminating, among other things, half of the city-run mental health clinics.  The amount of mental health services was already inadequate before this cut.  This is in addition to the total absence of mental health services within the Cook County Health and Hospital System and the millions in cuts to the state mental health budget last year. 

Meanwhile more people lack health insurance in our state and the numbers of people needing mental health services continues to grow.  The unintended consequence of all of this is that we warehouse people with mental illness in, of all places, our prisons and jails where they will also not get treatment for their mental illness. 

The ultimate inconsistency is that the cost of incarcerating a mentally ill person is much larger than the cost of mental health treatment in an outpatient clinic.

This should be intolerable in a civilized society.

We call upon our political leaders to take a more wholistic approach by developing  a comprehensive public system that follows a statewide plan and is implemented regionally.

This piecemeal approach we have now is a costly failure.


Quentin Young, Founder & Chairman Health & Medicine Policy Research Group