Press Conference Calling for the Immediate Hiring of Psychiatrists at City Mental Health Centers

Mental Health Movement Press Release:

For Immediate Release

Press Contact: N’Dana Carter (773) 366-5184 or (773) 624-6281

Mental Health Emergency – NO Psychiatrist On Duty at Four City Mental Health Clinics – City sabotaging remaining clinics

What: Press Conference in front of Greater Grand Mental Health Clinic 4314 S. Cottage Grove

When: Tuesday Sept 30th at 11:30 am

Who: Mental Health Service Consumers and Activists

Chicago, IL – Four City of Chicago Mental Health Clinics currently have NO psychiatrist on duty. Activists say Commissioner Choucair has abandoned mental health service consumers in need of care. Dr. Santos, a psychiatrist with the City Mental Health clinics, recently retired – and Commissioner Choucair has failed to hire a replacement. Instead Choucair has brought in a Psychiatrist one day a week to fill prescriptions, abandoning patients the rest of the week. On Tuesday September 30 at 11:30 am at the Greater Grand Mental Health Clinic 4314 S. Cottage Grove, patients of the clinic will speak out about the mental health emergency facing the City clinics.

Calvin McCloud, a consumer at the Greater Grand Mental Health Clinic, says “I had to wait seven hours at the pharmacy to get the medication I needed because there was no Psychiatrist on duty. Anybody else might have given up and gone off of their medication.”

James Gardner, a resident of the south side, has been a client of Greater Lawn Mental Health Center since 2005.  “We’re like family now…they helped me with everything I needed” Gardner explains as he expressed his gratitude that Greater Lawn remained open when the City made a decision to close six of its twelve community mental health centers in 2012.  Greater Lawn recently lost its psychiatrist forcing Gardner to move to a private provider. Gardner said that he likes his therapist, but was forced to find another location for medication management.  “That’s when my wife came in.  She found Mount Sinai.”  Now Gardner must travel to two locations across the city to get treatment.

“Commissioner Choucair’s failure to replace retiring psychiatrists seems to suggest a larger effort by Choucair to sabotage the remaining six mental health clinics” says N’Dana Carter of the Mental Health Movement. The Mental Health Movement recently blasted Commissioner Choucair’s decision to close six of the twelve mental health clinics at a hearing last month. “Commissioner Choucair claims to be providing quality treatment but how can he with no psychiatrist on staff?” asks Becky Brasfield, a mental health advocate.

The Mental Health Movement is a coalition led by consumers of the city mental health clinics, Southside Together Organizing for Power, and AFSCME Council 31.