Chicago faces several mental health care access issues



(The Center Square) – Chicago residents have been struggling to access mental healthcare in the city due to several factors. One legislator says it needs to be easier to get care.

Chicago residents have many forms of transportation while living in the city, as many utilize public transit and travel by bike or foot as many facilities are spread across the city.

State Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, said these play a role in a resident’s access to timely mental health services.

“It is a problem when you have a person who is struggling with a mental health challenge, and they do not have a mental health home to treat it,” Ford said. “When you have someone struggling with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, they need to have places they can get to in their neighborhoods.”

The city has set aside millions in its upcoming budget to fix issues regarding mental health services, but still more needs to be done.

“Mental health support is just as important as physical health, but we are lacking in that,” Ford said. “We have been working with [providers] so that at least children can access mental and behavioral health support.”

The state overall has seen significant issues at its mental health centers over the past two years. A CBS Chicago investigation into the Shapiro Developmental Center in Kankakee showed physical abuse of a patient happening within the facility run by the Department of Human Services.

The investigation includes a video of a former employee that shows a worker grabbing a resident by the sweatshirt’s hood and cites incidents of starvation and strangulation.

Lawmakers are looking to address these issues when returning for the January session.



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