Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=100979
Story Retrieval Date: 5/26/2013 2:31:30 AM CST
Recovered persons living with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders spoke out about budget cuts to about 100 advocates outside the State Thompson Center in downtown Chicago Wednesday.
They urged Gov. Blagojevich to restore $79 million to the state’s mental health care and substance abuse treatment budgets. The cuts that rolled out over the summer slashed $35.6 million from Division of Mental Health and $55 million from the Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse.
Blagojevich signed a bill Oct. 7 that authorized sweeping $221 million from special state accounts for relief. But until he signs a spending bill, nothing can be done, according to Tom Green, spokesman for the Division of Mental Health. He described the cuts as a “tight budget situation for the state.”
“All of our members have been affected by the cuts,” said Marvin Lindsey, a public policy social worker for Community Behavioral Healthcare Association. “We have some members that are closing their doors, lots of them that have cut back on services or laid off staff, but more importantly, [there is] just a lot of people who are not able to access services because of the cuts.”