IL Gov. promises millions more in mental health funding - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

IL Gov. promises millions more in mental health funding

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Gov. Pat Quinn gives his budget address to Illinois lawmakers. Gov. Pat Quinn gives his budget address to Illinois lawmakers.
Singer Mental Health Center before it's closure in 2012. Singer Mental Health Center before it's closure in 2012.
Rosecrance Triage Center Rosecrance Triage Center
ROCKFORD (WREX) -

After years of cuts, Illinois' governor promises extra funding for mental health care. Rockford area providers are happy to hear it but say the state has a lot of ground to make up.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness gives Illinois a "D" on its state report card when it comes to providing care. The state's cut nearly $190-million in the last four years.

"Mental health care for all who need it is a top priority. So our budget includes an additional $25 million investment to improve mental health in Illinois," says Governor Pat Quinn.

A big change from last year's budget address when the governor demanded the closure of four mental health facilities including Singer in Rockford. Rosecrance took over some of singer's responsibilities including crisis care.  The organization's president says this change in attitude likely came from things like the Newtown, Connecticut shooting. The suspect had a known mental illness.

"I think some of the recent tragedies around the country have really shined the bright light on our community and many others needs to try to address some of the more serious and profound problems," says Philip Eaton, Rosecrance President/CEO.

Even with the added $25 million Rosecrance worries by the time it's spread around Illinois there might not be that much more money coming to Winnebago County. Rosecrance Triage Center and Crisis Residential Program serve nine counties and still are only partially funded by the state.

"You know we have long lines of people who are waiting and our funded programs, some have closed, some have gone away because of the state cuts that have occurred in most recent years. We know that the devil is in the details. How is this going to roll out, what services might be provided, there's still many questions and it's early," says Eaton.

The governor has yet to provide any answers to how the added mental health money will be distributed. The budget proposal also still has to get past lawmakers.

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