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Mental health


Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Wed May 13, 2015

Mental Health Advocates Rally Against Rauner's Proposed Budget Cuts (VIDEO)

Carrying signs reading, "Mental wellness is a human right," a few hundred Illinoisans took to the Thompson Center Wednesday afternoon to rally against Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget cuts to mental health services and other crucial programs.

At the event, spearheaded by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Chicago, speaker after speaker denounced Rauner's 2016 budget plan, which seeks to slash funding for the mental health division of the Illinois Department of Human Services by 15 percent. That works out to be a proposed cut of $82 million.

Cash-strapped Illinois faces a $6 billion budget deficit in the 2016 fiscal year, beginning July 1. To plug that hole, Rauner wants to significantly cut funding from a range of budgetary items, including $1.5 billion from Medicaid.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue May 5, 2015

Chicago Mental Health Community Demands Answers Over C4's Imminent Closure (VIDEO)

Following the abrupt news last month that Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4) expects to shut down at the end of May, clients and staff from the major mental health service provider want answers about the organization's imminent closure.

C4 clients, staffers and their supporters from Arise Chicago, SEIU* Local 73 and other groups rallied Tuesday afternoon outside C4's facility at 4740 N. Clark St. They were there to demand "four C's for C4: compensation, clients' rights, communication and commitment," explained C4 staff therapist Max Beshers.

C4 -- which serves more than 10,000 patients annually and has some 300 employees -- expects to close May 31 as a result of problems stemming from a new billing and electronic health records system required as part of the Affordable Care Act, according to C4 President and CEO Eileen Durkin.

C4 employees, organizing as the C4 Workers' Committee, say they have been kept in the dark about the institution's problems. 

"We, as workers, were never told this was happening, so there was no way for us to know or prepare. We were just given short notice that C4 was going to be closing," said C4 staff therapist Cynthia Cruz. "We don't have any type of transition plan yet. We don't know what to tell our clients, and our clients also have a right to know what's happening for them next."

Quick Hit
by La Risa Lynch
Tue Mar 24, 2015

Chicago West Side Residents Discuss Potential Impact Of Rauner's Budget

State Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago) called Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget a "doomsday situation" that is compounded by a $1.6 billion shortfall from former Gov. Pat Quinn's underfunded FY2015 budget.

In February, Rauner proposed sweeping cuts to the state's Medicaid program, higher education, mass transit and government pensions to address the state's financial woes. The cuts aimed to combat a $6 billion deficit for fiscal year 2016, which begins in July 1, and the state's $111 billion pension crisis. But critics of Rauner's budget plan say those cuts adversely affect the poor and middle class families.

"It's gonna be tough," said Turner, who held a town hall meeting Monday night to discuss the impact Rauner's proposed cuts could have on the state. More than 30 residents attended the meeting held at Mt. Sinai Community Institute, 2653 W. Ogden Ave.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
Mon Mar 16, 2015

Illinoisans Speak Out Against Rauner's Proposed Human Services Budget Cuts

A few hundred Illinoisans attended a state Senate appropriations hearing in Chicago on Monday to discuss Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget cuts to Department of Human Services programs. Here's a breakdown of what happened at the hearing and what some audience members have to say about the governor's fiscal plan.