AFSCME offers roadmap to reopen Chicago’s closed mental health clinics
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s commitment to reopen the city’s previously closed mental health clinics and begin building a new and better system of public mental health services can be kept in the mayor’s first four-year term, according to new report from AFSCME Council 31.
“Under Mayor Johnson and the new City Council, Chicago has an opportunity to fix past mistakes, reverse clinic closures and rebuild the strong network of public mental health services our communities need,” Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “We offer this report to look at where we’ve been, where we are and most importantly, where we can go together as a city. Our union and our members look forward to working with other stakeholders and elected officials to make the mayor’s vision a reality.”
The report suggests:
- Growing the capacity of the five existing clinics by making sure they are fully staffed.
- Building on existing pilot programs that provide mental health response to emergency calls and mental health services in city libraries.
- Twenty possible community areas that should be considered when sites for the promised 14 new clinics are chosen.
- Opening two new Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) clinics in the coming 2024 budget year, and phasing in the balance of the 14 new clinics over the subsequent three years, keeping Mayor Johnson’s promise to restore CDPH to 19 clinics by the end of his first term.
Council 31 represents therapists, psychologists and administrative staff in CDPH, which operated 19 clinics until the 1990s and 12 as recently as 2011.