NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING
DONATE TODAY


  May 30, 2012

Mental Health Movement Resists Chicago Austerity Measures


Chicago Shuts Down 6 of the City’s 12 public mental health centers, moves towards privatization of services
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here
   


Share to Facebook Share to Twitter


The in-depth interviews with knowledgeable people are a gold mine to those of us with questing minds who are determined to pursue the facts, wherever they may lead. - Jennifer Humiston
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


transcript

Mental Health Movement Resists Chicago Austerity MeasuresVOICEOVER: By the end of April, the city of Chicago had shut down 6 of its 12 public mental health clinics in a move that has sparked outrage among the city’s mental health clients and advocates. On Saturday, May 19th, hundreds of demonstrators marched on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s northwest Chicago home in the latest of a series of actions targeting the city’s budgetary decision that they say is creating a crisis for many of the city’s mental health patients. Mayor Emanuel insists that the plan is not about cutting back on services, but rather consolidating and expanding available care.

RAHM EMANUEL, MAYOR, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS: I want people to remember, I take the issue of providing benefits and care to those who need mental health benefits seriously. We're not pulling back from service. In fact, we're giving more service to more people and we're adding a new benefit.

VOICEOVER: Under the city’s plan, uninsured patients will continue to receive care at the remaining 6 facilities, while those with insurance will go to a number of private sector care providers. The move will save the city an estimated 3 million dollars per year, though Mayor Emanuel has insisted that the decision is not about money, but improved services. Kelly Hayes of Occupy Chicago insists that the decision to close half of the public clinics is part of a move towards privatization that will restrict the availability of care for the city’s most vulnerable patients in need of mental health services.

KELLY HAYES, OCCUPY CHICAGO: This is an ongoing austerity issue it’s a march towards privatization that the city has been fighting for for years, initially they said tough choices budget cuts we have no choice this is what has to happen when we continuously pointed out that they managed to find a million dollar increase for lawn mowing services and graffiti removal and 3 million dollars is a drop in the bucket in a billion dollar budget, they said oh no it’s about providing better care, their talking points keep changing but the reality remains the same they are taking actions that will cause people to die.

VOICEOVER: The Occupy Movement has joined in on the fight to save the clinics that has largely been led by the patients themselves. Care recipients and advocates have been engaged in a number of ongoing protests and public awareness campaigns, and at one point a group attempted to barricade themselves inside and briefly occupy the Woodlawn Mental Health Clinic slated for immediate closure in April. They have maintained a constant vigil at 2 of the closed centers, and also demonstrated outside of City Hall and more recently in front of the Mayor’s home. Several dozen people have been arrested in the series of actions. Linda Hatcher used to be a client of the Woodlawn Mental Health Clinic before it was closed in April. She and others are worried about the effects the closures are having on those who have been unable to relocate or adjust to a new caregiver at a different site.

LINDA HATCHER, FORMER CLIENT, WOODLAWN MENTAL HEALTH CLINIC: Since they’ve lost some of the clinics, some of the people are getting on drugs some people getting high some people drinking some people not in their right state of mind some people don’t have their medication or don’t have their therapist that they can go and talk to that they can have someone to reach out to them.

VOICEOVER: Some worry about the costly impacts that the closures could have on emergency rooms and jails, which will be forced to absorb and provide care to more patients with mental health problems. Dan Bader used to work as a clinical therapist at Northtown Rogers Park Mental Health Center before it was closed in April. He has since relocated to one of the remaining open centers, where both himself and a large influx of uninsured care seekers have already been feeling the pressure of the centers’ increased case loads.

DAN BADER, CLINICAL THERAPIST, CHICAGO PUBLIC MENTAL HEATH SERVICES: When they shut down the 6 clinics they also laid off about 40-45 percent of the clinical staff so those who remain are going to immediately have huge caseloads, I have about 60 people for example, who I do not know, who are coming from therapists who have been laid off, these consumers these clients are very upset about that and now they have to try to adjust to me and I have to get to know 60 people at once plus we have new people coming in from the neighborhoods who also want services, I had about 30 or so I carried over with me from Northtown Rogers Park I have a base line of about 90 clients which will continue to grow it’s hard to take care of people effectively and efficiently when there are so many.

VOICEOVER: On May 25th, the Illinois legislature approved $1.6 billion dollars in Medicaid spending cuts as health services for Chicago’s poorer populations continue to face the chopping block under city and state budget austerity measures.



Comments

Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

latest stories

Sanders Supports Universal Healthcare Amendment 69 in Colorado, Will Hillary?
Breaking Through Power: F. Paul Bland on Corporate Cheating and Predatory Lending
Breaking Through Power: Jamie Love on Ending Drug Monopolies
Growing Labor Protests Paralyzing France
Refugees Dehumanized, Impoverished, and Trapped in Europe: What can we do about it?
Clinton's Candidacy Will Unite the Corporate World
Rising Up Against Empire: Jeremy Scahill and the Easter Uprising
Tapes Reveal Coup Plot Against Rousseff, Weakening Temer Government
Koch Funded Free Market Universities in Arizona
'We've Become Accustomed to the System Doing Nothing for the Killing of Black People'
IMF-Eurozone Deal Hailed as a Breakthrough, But No Relief for Greeks
Why Austrians Nearly Elected a Far Right Candidate as President
Unions and the Sanders/Clinton Split (2/2)
Democratic Nomination Battle is Not Over Yet
Will Sanders Appointees Shake Up the Convention?
'The Law Has Always Been in the Favor of Law Enforcement'
Officer Edward Nero Found Not Guilty of All Charges Over Death of Freddie Gray
Unions and the Sanders/Clinton Split (1/2)
Bernie Sanders and the Widening Political Spectrum
Austria Narrowly Elects Former Green Party Leader as President, Avoids Far-Right Candidate
The Empire Files: 100 Years of US Troops as Lab Rats
By Ignoring Fossil Fuel Extraction, the Paris Agreement is Doomed to Failure
The Occupation of the American Mind - RAI with Pink Floyd's Roger Waters (3/3)
Erdogan Targeting the 59 Pro-Kurdish HDP Parliamentarians with 445 Police Investigations
Climate Change-Fueled Droughts Pushing Africa to the Brink
The Financial Invasion of Greece
The Occupation of the American Mind - RAI with Pink Floyd's Roger Waters (2/3)
Judge to Hand Down First Verdict in Freddie Gray Case on Monday
Move to Amend and the Fight to Remove Corporate Money From U.S. Elections
Baltimore Activists Defend Tubman House Against Threats of Demolition

TheRealNewsNetwork.com, RealNewsNetwork.com, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting