Last 4 of 6 Mental Health Clinics to Close Today, Mental Health Movement Members Rally
In response to the closing of the last four of six city mental health clinics slated for closure today, members of the Mental Health Movement will visit the Obama Campaign Headquarters to deliver what they are calling a global call to President Obama demanding a stay of execution for Chicago’s mental health clinics.
At noon, the group will rally at the State of Illinois building to ask Governor Quinn to pardon the City Clinics and stop Medicaid cuts, and at 5:15 p.m. dozens of city therapists will be joined by notable doctors at a press conference at City Hall outside the Office of the Mayor denouncing the repercussions of clinic closings and health care cuts.
The Mental Health Movement are demanding all 12 Chicago public mental health clinics open, fully funded, and fully staffed, and to keep Chicago’s seven primary care neighborhood clinics open and public. Patients, healthcare workers and advocates say cuts planned by Mayor Rahm Emanuel are undermining President Obama’s goals of expanding access to healthcare.
“There will be no African-American males left to provide care and therapy to that particular population after the layoffs and clinic closures. That will leave the African-American male population disconnected,” said Steven Dyson, a therapist at the Woodlawn Clinic who has spent 26 years with City of Chicago Mental Health Clinics. “It’s a difficult time already coming to therapy because of the stigma. We welcome them in, make them feel comfortable, that they did the right thing, talk about their problems and provide medication if they need it. There are a lot of uninsured people who come to the clinic and this is their last resort, but there will be nobody there to connect with them that knows their cultural background. I know the people I see, I know what they’re going through, I know this transition is already a disaster and that people need the safety net that is the City of Chicago public mental health centers.”
On April 12, 23 people – mostly patients of Chicago’s mental health clinics – were arrested barricading themselves into one of six mental health clinics that Mayor Emanuel aims to close by April 30, 2012. Protesters have gathered 24-hours-a-day since then to call attention to the tragic consequences of closing mental health clinics. To date, 35 demonstrators have been arrested in the fight to save Chicago’s mental health clinics.
Schedule of today’s events:
10 a.m. -Catch bus from Woodlawn Clinic 6337 S. Woodlawn or from 2339 N. Milwaukee
11 a.m. – Meet at Obama Campaign HQ 130 E. Randolph
12 p.m. – Rally outside Thompson Center (Randolph between Clark and LaSalle)
5:15 p.m.- Press conference on 5th floor of City Hall 121 N. LaSalle