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Chicago officials expand public mental health services

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(The Center Square) – Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson has announced an expansion of public mental health facilities in the city.

The mayor said his administration will reopen the Roseland Mental Health Clinic before the end of the year. The facility is one of 14 such clinics the city has closed since 1989.

“We are standing here on the far South Side to make it clear that we are prioritizing those that have been left behind and discarded by previous administrations,” Johnson said.

Johnson also announced the expansion of mental health facilities in Pilsen and West Garfield Park. He said he couldn’t help but think of his late brother, Leon.

“He was a loving husband and father, a brilliant musician, but he struggled with mental illness throughout his entire life,” Johnson said.

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Simbo Ige said that one in four Chicagoans has a mental-health issue.

“At this moment, there are over 300,000 Chicagoans waiting for mental health services,” Ige said.

Johnson said police and fire departments should not be the ones responding to mental health crises.

“We rely too much on policing. It’s just that simple. What we are building is a system of care. The full force of government is on display today,” Johnson said.

Government and union officials joined the mayor as he announced the reopening of the Roseland facility. When asked how much the projects would cost, the mayor did not offer an estimate.

The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance last October to establish a working group for mental health system expansion.

Chicago 33rd Ward Alderman and Democratic Socialist Caucus member Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez co-sponsored the ordinance. She said the Treatment Not Trauma campaign is about creating sustainable, public infrastructures of care.

“The campaign leads with a vision for an integrated prevention and treatment-focused ecosystem of city-run mental health centers across Chicago’s neighborhoods that includes a non-police and peer-supported mental and behavioral health first-responders system,” Rodriguez-Sanchez said.