Mental health disparities endanger Chicago’s youth
May 01, 2013
Network faithful are encouraged to read this important interview with Dr. Carl Bell conducted by Ebony Magazine. The article puts the national debate over gun violence and dwindling mental health resources in gripping perspective.
Though the city has landed at the epicenter of the national debate over gun violence, the escalating numbers of Black and Latino youth killed have not received the same amount of attention as the victims of mass shootings in Colorado or Connecticut. Worse, while there has been a national outcry for increased access to mental health treatment in the wake of the Aurora and Newtown shootings, Chicago (whose gun-violence murder rate last year was the equivalent of “a ‘Newtown,’ [massacre] every four months“), has seen a steady decrease in funding to mental health programs.
“From 2009 to 2012, state leaders cut roughly $187 million from state-sponsored programs,” according to a report by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. That’s just over thirty percent of its mental health budget. Today, Illinois “has the dubious distinction” of ranking third in the nation when it comes to states with the highest dollar amounts cut from mental health programs. Further, six of Chicago’s twelve mental health care facilities have been closed down by the state, including facilities in the heart of the city’s Black community on the South Side.