Will County Democratic Central Committee - News




How we shaft the mentally ill

Author: Editor

For more than 50 years, the Tinley Park Mental Health Center served as the treatment facility for up to 1,900 mentally ill patients annually. These days, the patients have been left to fend for themselves as the building lies vacant — a stark and eerie reminder of everything that is wrong with Illinois' mental health system.

Since the 1960s, the number of beds in Illinois' state-run psychiatric hospitals has decreased to fewer than 1,500 from 35,000, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The latest closures in 2012, including the Tinley Park center, coincided with Chicago shuttering half of its 12 mental health clinics. For decades, we were told that government was not turning its back on the mentally ill. Rather, these institutions would be replaced through "reinvesting in community care" — a more humane and cost-effective means of treating those patients.

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