Mt. Vernon Register-News

State News

June 11, 2009

Budget impasse threatens mental health programs

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — There are concerns the mental health system in Illinois is threatened by the budget impasse.

According to Illinois Department of Human Services spokesman Tom Green, plans are being made to close state psychiatric hospitals and developmental centers in the event a state budget is adopted that does not adequately fund mental health programs.

Southern Illinois University School of Medicine psychiatry department chairman Dr. Stephen Soltys says if McFarland Mental Health Center in Springfield is closed, it could clog hospital emergency rooms and cause more suicides, criminal activity and misery among the mentally ill.

Soltys said building up the outpatient system in central Illinois to handle McFarland’s closure would take years and might require as much money as the $18 million it costs annually to operate the facility.

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Information from: The State Journal-Register, http://www.sj-r.com

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