Mental Health Movement

Ready to Practice Healing as Resistance?

The Mental Health Movement works with
mental health services consumers and
providers and community members to
erase the stigma of mental illness, preserve
and improve city mental health services, and
build the movement for the human
right to healthcare.

The Mental Health Movement is a coalition led
by STOP and includes AFSCME Council 31,
Illinois Nurses Association, Community
Mental Board of Chicago and Next Steps.

History of the Mental Health Movement

In 2009 after the City lost millions of dollars for mental health services because of billing errors, they tried to close the clinics of the most marginalized people– the mentally ill in communities of color. Some of STOP's key tenant leaders argued that if we did not fight to save the services that make the community stable, then we might as well throw in the towel on our campaign against housing displacement. These tenants also made the case that mental health consumers could lead the fight to save the clinics. STOP worked with these consumers to launch a campaign to save the four clinics faced with closure. The campaign included  bring together dozens of major protests, thousands of petitions and letters, a city council hearing, a packed town hall meeting, numerous vigils and finally a sit-in at the Mayor's office. These efforts allowed us to negotiate successfully with the Mayor’s chief of staff and save all four previously doomed clinics.

The energy and passion of these consumers as well as the continued threat of cuts to their services led STOP to create a Mental Health Movement Program – an ongoing program - led by mental health services consumers to support efforts to preserve and improve public mental health services and fight for the human right to healthcare.

The Mental Health Program educates the community about mental health needs and services and about city government and budgeting over mental health services. We do this through community outreach and educational events and through press coverage and media we create. The Mental Health Movement Program also mobilizes mental health consumers and community allies to advocate for maintaining and improving mental health services. By keeping mental health services in the public dialogue we also further the elimination of the stigma of mental illness. Finally, the Mental Health Movement Program also builds alliances with labor unions and other healthcare organizations to build the movement for the human right to healthcare.

Read the full story