Community Mental Health Board Meeting

COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH BOARD OF CHICAGO, INC.
Regular monthly meeting will take place on Monday, September 28, 2009
from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm at
DePaul University Center
333 South State Street
Chicago, Illinois 60604 312-747-9888

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Meeting at City Hall Regarding the City’s Mental Health Services

Community Mental Health Board, Next Steps & Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP)
813 E. 63rd St – Chicago, IL 60637 – (773) 355-8222 – StopGentrification@gmail.com

Statement on Meeting at City Hall Regarding the City’s Mental Health Services

September 10th, 2009

Today a “special meeting on the status of the City’s mental health services,” convened by Mayor Daley’s Deputy Chief of Staff Evelyn Diaz, was held at City Hall.  Those most directly affected by this issue – the mentally ill, the public providers who serve them and the communities whose stability depends on these services – were conspicuously absent from the list of invitees. To exclude these voices is to repeat exactly the mistake that led to this crisis in the first place.

While we are disappointed that the meeting excluded the voices of those most directly affected, we are cautiously optimistic that the city realizes the importance of public mental health services and we hope to see a commitment moving forwards to work towards their preservation. City officials at the meeting confirmed that no clinics will be closed or consolidated at the present time, though their comments give us reason to worry that long-term privatization may still be on their agenda.

Amongst numerous private providers and city and state officials, our coalition, whose actions led to the meeting in the first place, was allowed only three invitations. Our representatives included AFSCME Council 31 Public Policy Director Anne Irving, and Community Mental Health Board President Darryl Gumm and Vice President Badonna Reingold. They put forth our position, which is that:

1) The purpose of the meetings should be to figure out how to keep all of the City mental health clinics open and adequately staffed. In our view, to make this happen the City needs to fix its billing problems, increase its staffing, and do everything possible to increase the proportion of city and state resources that go to mental health.

2) Those directly affected by the issue being discussed, including consumers, workers and community members, need to be at this table and participate fully in all future meetings

3) This and all future meetings should be open for the public to observe

Wishing to help correct the City’s error, we also brought several other representatives of our coalition who are directly affected by these issues to contribute to today’s dialogue. They were not allowed to sit at the table to hear the discussions that affect their lives. We hope that in future meetings the City will realize that it is doing a disservice to itself and the citizens of Chicago to exclude the voices of those whose input is invaluable to the resolution of this crisis.

We are also concerned at the absence of other entities which have to deal with the failure to provide these services, such as the police department’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), firemen, and Cook County officials. Additionally, representatives of Healthcare and Family Services, the Department of Corrections and the city of Chicago Family Support Services should also have been at the table because they are responsible for providing many of the human services that some consumers need.

We recognize this “special meeting” as the direct result of our efforts and our sacrifices. In response to the Department of Public Health announcing plans last December to close four mental health centers, we took the fight to keep the centers open all the way to city hall and obtained a commitment from the mayor’s Chief of Staff Paul Volpe that the centers would not be closed.

The commitment was not limited to keeping the centers open. As we stated in our letter to Mr. Volpe, our long term goal is that of ensuring the availability of publicly funded and administered quality community mental health services to the citizens of Chicago. It was in pursuit of this goal that we presented as one of our demands the formation of a task force including mental health consumers, community advocates, and workers at the clinics to move towards ensuring the sustainability of the city’s mental health services. Mr. Volpe agreed to this request.

We hope that moving forward the City will make good on its commitment to work with us in an open, inclusive process towards the resolution of the current crisis and towards a long-term planning process to address the needs of Chicago’s mentally ill population and their communities.

Letter to the Mayor’s Deputy Chief of Staff

Community Mental Health Board, Next Steps & Southside Together Organizing for Power

813 E. 63rd St – Chicago, IL 60637 – (773) 355-8222 – StopGentrification@gmail.com

September 3rd, 2009

Ms. Evelyn Diaz

Deputy Chief of Staff, Mayor Richard M. Daley

121 N. LaSalle #507

Chicago, IL 60602

It has come to our attention that a “special meeting on the status of the City’s mental health services,” convened by Deputy Chief of Staff Evelyn Diaz, will be held on September 10, 2009.

We are very much concerned that there has been no attempt to consult with us on the development of the agenda for the meeting. Those most directly affected by this issue are conspicuously absent from the list of invitees. To exclude consumers of mental health services, front line providers of these services, and representatives from the communities where these centers are located is to repeat exactly the mistake that has led to this crisis in the first place. We are also concerned at the absence of other entities which have to deal with the failure to provide these services, such as the police department’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), firemen, and Cook County officials. Additionally, representatives of Healthcare and Family Services, the Department of Corrections and the city of Chicago Family Support Services should be at the table because they are responsible for providing many of the human services that some consumers need.

We recognize this “special meeting” as the direct result of our efforts and our sacrifices. As you know, in response to the Department of Public Health announcing plans last December to close four mental health centers, we took the fight to keep the centers open all the way to city hall and obtained a commitment from the mayor’s Chief of Staff Paul Volpe that the centers would not be closed.

The commitment was not limited to keeping the centers open. As we stated in our letter to Mr. Volpe, our long term goal is that of ensuring the availability of publicly funded and administered quality community mental health services to the citizens of Chicago. It was in pursuit of this goal that we presented as one of our demands the formation of a task force including mental health consumers, community advocates, and workers at the clinics to move towards ensuring the sustainability of the city’s mental health services. Mr. Volpe agreed to this request.

We are writing to inform you that:

  1. Representatives from our coalition are eager to work with you in the formation of the agenda for the “special meeting”

  2. Representatives selected by our coalition will attend and expect to participate in the “special meeting”

  3. We believe this and other meetings concerning mental health should be public and fully transparent

These measures will be an important first step in restoring our confidence that the city will honor the commitment made to us in April at the meetings and in subsequent conversations with Mr. Volpe.

Sincerely,

Darryl Gumm
Badonna Reingold
N’Dana Carter
Fred Friedman

Special meeting on the status of the City’s mental health services

Mayor Daley’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Evelyn Diaz, has scheduled a special meeting on the status of the City’s mental health services for Thursday, September 10, 2009 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM, at City Hall -121 North LaSalle Street – Mayor’s Office – Room 509- Conference Room 509 A.

The meeting notice or invitation states that guests “have been invited to participate in this conversation for the unique perspective and interest you share in ensuring the quality and accessibility of mental health services in Chicago. For this reason, your invitation in non-transferable…We view this as the first of several Mayor’s Office meetings on this topic. Although we do not expect to resolve all the issues on our agenda at this one meeting, it is important that we use our time productively.”

Invited guests:

Carl C. Bell, Executive Director

Community Mental Health Council

Zirl Smith, Executive Director

Abraham Lincoln Centre

Anthony Zipple, Sc.D., MBA, Chief Executive Director

Thresholds

Tim Sheehan

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois

Anthony A. Kopera, Ph.D., President & CEO

Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4)

Patricia Perez, Mental Health Director

Pilsen Wellness Center

Bruce Seitzer, LCPC, Regional Director

Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4)

Linda Denson, Program Coordinator/Consumer Advocate

CDPH

Darryl Gumm, Chair

Mental Health Advisory Board

Dr. Terry Mason, Commissioner

CDPH

Sylvia Riperton-Lewis, MPH, MJ, CPHQ, Deputy Commissioner

CDPH

Judith Cook, Ph.D., Executive Director

Center for Mental Health Services Research and Policy

Richard Jones, Ph. D., President and CEO

Metropolitan Family Services

Badonna Reingold, Co-Chair

CDPH Mental Health Advisory Board

Anne Irving

AFSCME Council 31

Dan Wasmer, Associate Director

Illinois Department of Human Services

Division of Mental Health

Brenda Hampton, Deputy Director

Illinois Department of Human Services

Division of Mental Health

Gustavo Espinoza, LCSW, Region 1 Central Director

John J. Madden Mental Health Center

Locating Chicago mental health services

Locating Chicago mental health services

ValueOptions has a website where you can find information about the services offered by Chicago mental health providers and find providers located near your address. You can print a map of the locations as well. Sites are listed in order of the distance from your starting address.

Go to the Illinois Mental Health Collaborative at

http://www.illinoismentalhealthcollaborative.com/providers.htm

and click on “ReferralConnect”

or

Find A Provider at:
Find Hospitals and Programs