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Mental Health Advocates Demand Better Services From City For Low-Income Patients

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mental health advocates protested outside of Mayor Emanuel's office today, saying that there are still not enough services available for low-income mental patients, reports WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore.

The Emanuel administration has said mental health services through a partnership among public and private providers have been maintained and with the Affordable Care Act, those patients eligible have more options available or being worked out.
But N'Dana Carter, lead organizer for the mental health movement, says that's not what she's seen.


"We only have one-and-a-half psychiatrists for the six mental health clinics," Carter said. "We've heard that story before and it has not changed. Things are actually getting worse for the mental health clinics. Every time a therapist retires the never hire anyone else."

Mental health advocates gathered for a demonstration at City Hall to say people have been harmed by the administration's current practices and policies.

Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. Julie Morita said in a statement saying in part, "With targeted investments over the years—including recent reforms to protocol for our first responders encountering individuals with mental illness—the City has made significant improvements to its overall mental health infrastructure. As we continue working to address how to best serve individuals experiencing mental illness, the City is taking a holistic look at all aspects of response—from 911 call takers and dispatchers, to police training and de-escalation tactics, to service delivery—so that those who are in need of mental health services are getting the care they need most."

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