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Our Lives on the Line: Voices from Chicago's Mental Health Clinics

April 10, 2012 Leave a Comment

Mayor Emanuel's 2012 Chicago City Budget proposes to close half of Chicago's mental health clinics and privatize all 7 of its neighborhood health centers, cutting off access to care to some of Chicago's most vulnerable residents and under-served communities.

The Mental Health Movement, launched by Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP)'s in partnership with the Community Mental Health Board of Chicago and AFSCME Council 31, has been trying to meet with Mayor Emanuel since he was just a candidate. We delivered 4,000 letters explaining that closing clinics is dangerous for communities and will carry unanticipated costs in extra hospitalizations and police response to preventable crises.

He ignored our letters and announced his plan to close and privatize our clinics. After asking for over a year to face the people his decision could kill, we sat-in for 10 hours at his office the day before the budget vote. Nonetheless, due to political arm-twisting, his budget passed 50-0.

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has NOT consulted with the people this decision will affect. The Commissioner refused to appear at a town hall, meeting only with small groups who consistently told him that this decision will cost lives because many people cannot survive a transition to other clinics far away or cannot afford the co-pays charged in the private sector.

This video accompanies the report the Mental Health Movement is putting out about the dangers of closing Chicago's Mental Health Clinics. The report, titled "Dumping Responsibility: The Case Against CPH's Closure of Mental Health Clinics" is available on the STOP website


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