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April 15th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Anger over Chicago's mental health cuts

By Nova Safo, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @Nova_Safo

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) – States have been slashing their mental healthcare budgets, even as mass shootings and the gun control debate highlight the need for more mental health resources.

Protesters in Chicago highlighted some of the consequences of those cuts last week. The occasion was the one-year anniversary of the city’s closure of half of its 12 public mental healthcare clinics. Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle, one of the protest organizers, recalled the story of one patient who had confronted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel before the closures.

[3:45] “She told the mayor to his face, if you close my clinic, I will die. And within a month of him closing the clinic, she was dead. She died of heart failure. However, nobody can say that stress isn’t related to heart failure. She was going through immense stress at the prospect of losing her therapist.”

Bob Carolla, spokesman for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, says states across the country have cut $4 billion from their mental healthcare services, leaving a large, unmet need in many communities.

[3:05] “There’s an increase in people with mental illness coming to emergency rooms. And there are longer waiting lists in community mental health clinics. There’s an increase in the jail population that do have mental health problems.”

Since the Newtown tragedy, there have been a number of bills introduced in Congress to reverse some of the cuts in mental healthcare. One bipartisan bill would restore more than $1 billion in funding through the Medicaid program.

To learn more about the mental healthcare funding cuts and their consequences, please listen to our story above. Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. And listen to CNN Soundwaves on our SoundCloud page.

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soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. James R Hoffa

    It's just crazy!

    April 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MissCissi

    Patriot? I don't think so! While there IS a word that describes your philosophy pretty well, it surely is NOT 'patriot'. You're a sad example of all that is wrong with this world and I think that humanity can do without your kind of 'love'.

    April 15, 2013 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |