A blow was struck to the Chicago mental health community this month, as Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4) has announced it will be closing its doors on May 31. This means more than 10,000 patients, including children, will be left without means for mental healthcare.
This will likely also be extremely damaging for those applying for disability benefits via the Social Security Administration, as it is important to establish medical records before applying. Many who went to C4 will have a hard time affording doctors visits and establishing the needed records.
At a rally outside of the C4 center in Chicago, CBS Chicago said Terese Burton was in tears telling the crowd just how much she was helped by the center for the past 24 years.
“They have helped me, support me, raise my children who all had mental health needs,” Burton said. “As a client here, I’ve been able to receive meds, support and I’m an active member of society.”
The closure of C4 comes in the midst of a proposal by Gov. Bruce Rauner to slash $82 million for mental health programs. In addition, Chicago shut down six of its 12 mental health clinics in 2012, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel citing C4 as a place people could turn for their mental health needs.
It appears that a convenient way to balance government budgets is to deny the mentally ill access to treatment. Untreated disease, whether mental or physical, is not the answer to address the conditions of our state’s ills. We should not be surprised at the foreseeable results of such a lack of concern for the welfare and treatment of the mentally ill.
One of the consequences of the government’s failure to provide treatment facilities for the mentally ill is that symptoms may become worse, thereby causing homelessness and problems in the justice system.
It is important for claimants seeking Social Security disability benefits to document the severity of their illness through medical records. Lack of such records could very well result in difficulty prevailing on their claim for benefits.