The closing of 7 mental health facilities across the state has many Illinois citizens worried about the future of the employees who work and the patients who currently reside in these hospitals. One of those facilities is right here in Rockford; Singer Mental Health Facility is the latest subject of budget cuts across the state leading many people to petition against its closing. Slated to close at the end of the year, there is a chance that Rockford’s unemployment rate may once again jump higher as 140 workers from Singer may find themselves without a job come 2012. These are employees who are specially trained to deal with the mentally ill and they are a huge asset to the Singer Mental Health Facility.
And what about the patients? Where will they go? Former acting Medical Director Dr. Wood says that there is no other hospital in the Rockford region equipped well enough to take care of the patients at Singer (read article here). Singer takes patients that no one else will handle. Many of them are violent offenders, found not guilty by reason of insanity. Could closing these facilities be a social disaster waiting to happen?
A social disaster waiting to happen are Dr. Woods’ exact words.
The worst of this whole situation is that the patients’ futures are still uncertain. Some of them may find other hospitals at which they can continue their treatment. For others, unfortunately, closing the mental hospitals could mean ending up in a regular jail, or even worse, in our own neighborhoods.
Why is this all happening? Of course, the possible closing of these hospitals are the result of unmet funding by lawmakers. Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union have already started on trying to persuade Governor Pat Quinn and lawmakers to make changes so that there is sufficient funding to keep these all-too-important mental hospitals running.
Now will Governor Pat Quinn think about allowing a Rockford casino as a kick start to our city’s economy? Will he do anything that improves our way of life? Maybe he has other plans. If not, maybe he should keep one of those mental facilities open for his future residency.
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Categories: Economy & Government