Illinois ranks third in the US in cuts to mental health services. Chicago school kids are being hit hard.

In a report that is a shocking indictment of the way Illinois and Chicago treats its young people who face mental health issues, Sarah Karp reports in Catalyst:

Troubled children, in fact, are often caught between a mental health system that is stretched thin and a parent who has trouble making time to deal with the problem, says Ashley Fountaine, a project manager with the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Mental Illness. Hospitalization is not always a bad option, Fountaine adds, because it serves a purpose in extreme cases.

Sometimes the assessment teams get pressure from schools to hospitalize a child, according to team directors. Carroll says there have been cases in which exasperated school staff will threaten a child with hospitalization—then become angry when the crisis team refuses.

“People don’t understand that hospitals don’t fix kids,” Carroll says. “They stabilize them. The real work has to be done in the community.”


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