Black, Latino facilities shuttered

The news: Budget cuts have prompted the City of Chicago to close four of its 12 mental health centers.

Behind the news: By April, half of the mental health facilities operated by the City of Chicago in black and Latino neighborhoods will close, according to an analysis by The Chicago Reporter. None of the four facilities in mixed neighborhoods will close. No mental health facilities are located in white or Asian areas.

Three of the six facilities in black neighborhoods will be shut down–” Grand Boulevard, Woodlawn and Morgan Park. One of the two facilities in Latino communities–”New City–”will be closed.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Terry Mason said that the South Side has more mental facilities than the North and West sides.

“There were nine centers on the South Side and we don’t really have very much west,” Mason said.

Tim Hadac, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Public Health, said that the closures were determined by facility conditions and the number of people they served. Staff will be relocated to the eight remaining centers; patients will have that option as well, Hadac said. The department will attempt to keep patients with their therapists, he added.

Suzanne Andriukaitis, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Chicago, said it will be difficult for some patients to adapt to new facilities in unfamiliar neighborhoods. The nature of some illnesses affects a patient’s thought process and causes them to have problems dealing with change, she added.

Hadac said roughly 6,500 patients will be affected, but the department did not immediately disclose the number of patients each facility assists.

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