mental health

NAMI Northern Illinois

Through support, education, advocacy and hope, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families who live with mental illness. But because of the coronavirus, NAMI has not been able to offer in-person support groups since March.

Danielle Angileri is the executive director of the northern Illinois NAMI branch. She said, until it is able to safely reopen, NAMI is offering a variety of virtual support groups along with presentations and educational opportunities that are "free of charge."

Pixabay

In-person mental health services are being scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some groups are making a transition to telemedicine to compensate.  

When it comes to therapy and psychiatric care, telemedicine isn’t new. It involves a videoconference or phone call between patient and caregiver.  It has proven useful in rural areas, where it may not be feasible for the patient to make regular trips to the doctor in a faraway city or town. 

Cities are finding a way to improve high crime areas is to have police develop ties with residents.  In Peoria, a program where officers live in the neighborhoods has proven successful and is expanding.  We have a report.  

And we learn what Governor J.B. Pritzker said during his budget address.  Pritzker used the opportunity to also push for a graduated income tax. 

That and more on Statewide.

Illinois lawmakers are considering a proposal to give students mental health days away from school.

The legislation would allow children in kindergarten through twelfth grade who have mental health issues the opportunity to take up to five days off during the school year.

Guy Stephens

A Northern Illinois University professor is looking at ways to reduce incarceration rates for those dealing with mental illness. Professor of Sociology Fred Markowitz will continue his research in Finland thanks to a Fulbright research grant.

Markowitz said both Finland and the U.S have seen an increase in the number of mentally ill in jail as they cut back local treatment programs. He said in the U.S., it’s difficult to get good information on the impact of those cuts, or programs that might prevent jail time for those grappling with mental illness.

Lawyers are asking a federal judge to hold the state of Illinois in contempt over the way it deals with mental illness in prisons.

Mental Health Problem Remains After 'Movember' Ends

Nov 30, 2018
Provided by Jace Pesina

As the calendar month comes to a close, so does No Shave November, an awareness and fundraising campaign. Participators forgo grooming all month to draw attention to high testicular cancer rates. Another campaign, Movember, piggybacks on the no-shave movement. Movember is meant to bring awareness to men's mental health in addition to cancer rates. Men are encouraged to grow a mustache and raise money for research causes. Jace Pesina is an emergency medical technician in DeKalb County.

Photo by Peter Medlin

In light of the conversations around safety, schools have recently changed many protocols and programs. They've replaced and upgraded equipment and hired armed resource officers.

But safety is not only about the physical vulnerability of the building. It's increasingly about mental health and helping students forge positive relationships with adults in their schools and communities.

WILL

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds the suicide rate in Illinois increased nearly 23 percent between 1999 and 2016.

 

Across the U.S., suicide rates have risen an average of 30 percent in that same time period.

Shirley Davis is a member and grant writer for the Champaign affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. 

WILL

A consultant with 30 years of experience in state and federal reforms will oversee efforts in Illinois to expand children’s mental health services, according to a motion approved by a federal judge today.

 

John O'Brien is a Florida-based consultant who will serve as the court-appointed expert to help Illinois ensure Medicaid-eligible children throughout the state have access to mental health services within their communities.

DeVonte Jones began to show signs of schizophrenia as a teenager. His first public episode was nine years ago at a ball game at Wavering Park in Quincy, Illinois.

“He snapped out and just went around and started kicking people,” said Jones’ mother Linda Colon, who now lives in Midlothian in the Chicago suburbs.


VIA ILLINOIS CENTRAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES

Three million Illinois Medicaid users will soon have more access to mental health and substance abuse treatments. Officials in Washington, D.C., OK’d a new state program that sets aside about $2 billion in Medicaid funds for the services.

If you’re someone who uses Medicaid, you’re covered if you go to the doctor’s office or hospital when you get physically sick. But if you have a mental health issue like depression, for example, and want a counselor to come visit you at home, it’s a different story.

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner has a track record of handing the toughest topics to small bipartisan panels of legislators. These “working groups” have been tasked with solving budget and pension problems, plus criminal justice reform. And weeks after the Florida mass shooting, Rauner formed a working group on public safety. Like the others, that group meets in private.

Speaking after today's meeting, State Rep. Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) said it's probably meant to prevent politicians from grandstanding.

CREDIT "PRISON BARS" BY FLICKR USER MICHAEL COGHLAN / (CC X 2.0)

A federal judge has ruled the Illinois prison system is still providing inadequate mental healthcare to inmates and that the treatment qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.

The ruling comes after attorneys representing inmates filed a claim last year with the court that the department was not following through on a settlement reached in 2016 to overhaul mental health treatment in Illinois prisons.

DCFS

An Illinois law passed in 2014 was supposed to ensure that families no longer have to give up custody of their children in order to get them necessary mental health treatment. But it remains an issue to this day, and the chief sponsor of the Custody Relinquishment Prevention Act (HB5598) says several state agencies are to blame.

flickr user / Michael Coghlan "Prison Bars" (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Advocates say the treatment of Illinois prisoners with mental illness is so bad that the prison system is in a “state of emergency.” They’re asking a federal judge to intervene.

More than a year ago, the Illinois Department of Corrections agreed that it needed to improve its treatment of prisoners with mental illness. It settled a decade-old court case, but lawyers for the prisoners say the state isn’t improving quickly enough.

Jenna Dooley

The DeKalb County Community Mental Health Board just passed its 50th anniversary since its first meeting. 

It's continuing the celebration with public "first aid" mental health trainings. A mix of area counselors, community members and physicians recently gathered at the DeKalb County Community Outreach Building. 

Participants learned how to recognize mental illness symptoms like anxiety and depression. They also gain skills to stabilize a critical situation until proper help is available.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The man in charge of the Cook County Jail says correctional facilities can do a much better job dealing with inmates who have mental health issues. Sheriff Tom Dart spoke to the League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford last night about his decade of efforts to support people with mental illnesses who end up in his jail. 

Dart says budget cuts for mental health programs have made things more difficult.

www.rosecrance.org

SwedishAmerican announced a $70,000 donation for Rosecrance's behavioral health program.

Rosecrance recently threatened to close its mental health triage center because of the Illinois' budget impasse. 

Bill Gorski, President and CEO of SwedishAmerican, says the stopgap budget isn't enough to keep those services afloat. 

"We know that the long term sustainable answer though, is going to have to come most likely from the legislature," Gorski said.

Gorski says the Rockford-area health facility is supporting the program because it meets a community need.

Flickr user Jim Bowen / "Illinois State Capitol" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois students could see a new form to sign when they start college -- one that would allow mental health information to be disclosed to their parents.

Michael Predmore knew his son Chris was going through a tough time. But he didn’t know Chris tried to kill himself months before he died from suicide.

Chris Predmore’s counselor at Illinois State University knew, but wasn’t able to let his parents know because of privacy laws.

Michael Predmore says knowing could have made all the difference -- he could have done something to help his son.

During his inauguration speech, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan announced a new mission -- figuring out what Illinois can do to prevent violence, like mass shootings at schools. A bipartisan task force formed to study the issue will meet for the first time today in Chicago.

Look back at the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Columbine, Northern Illinois University, and Rep. Greg Harris says you'll see commonalities. Like missed opportunities to help the killers with mental health issues that had been detected, but weren't properly treated.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The state of Illinois has taken another step toward regulating who may get a concealed-carry permit. The Department of Human Services has created an on-line database for mental health professionals to report people who pose a “clear and present danger” to themselves or others.

Courtesy of Friends of Singer Facebook page

State officials are gathering public input on the pending closure of Rockford's Singer Mental Health Center.  As part of a cost-cutting move, Governor Pat Quinn signed a budget that calls for shutting the facility's doors this fall.  The governor says it's also part of an effort to focus more on community-based mental health care.