CBHA News Weblog

Community Behavioral Healthcare Associaton of Illinois

Archive for May, 2008

Thresholds Conference to Discuss Transitioning Youth With Mental Illiness

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 30, 2008

(Chicago, IL) — Service providers who work with children and young adults will be among those in attendance for a Thresholds Institute conference July 18 – “From Cliff to Slope: Easing the Transition to Adulthood for Youth with Mental Health Needs.”

This conference will discuss best clinical and psycho-educational practices for young adults with mental illness to help young adults make educated choices.

The event will be co-sponsored by the Illinois Division of Mental Health and Department of Children & Family Services.

It will include a keynote address by Tanya R. Anderson, M.D., Illinois Division of Mental Health’s Acting Chief of Clinical Services.

More information on the one-day conference in Evanston is available by contacting Whitney Key at (773) 572-5138 or wkey@thresholds.org or by going to http://www.thresholds.org/pdf/clifftoslopesavedate.pdf


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NAMI honors Thresholds CEO Tony Zipple with Gordon Nash Public Education Award

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 30, 2008

(Chicago) — The National Alliance on Mental Illness – Chicago chapter honored Chicago-based Thresholds Psychiatric Rehabilitation Centers CEO Dr. Tony Zipple with the Gordon B. Nash, Sr. Public Education Award at NAMI’s 29th anniversary celebration in March.

In presenting the award, Eddy Eisenberg, NAMI’s board president, cited Zipple’s vision and focus on recovery and on honoring the dignity and full potential of individuals with mental illness.

“To be honored by (NAMI of Greater Chicago) makes this very special,” Zipple said during his acceptance remarks. “This award honors not only me but Thresholds and its staff.

One of the nation’s largest non-profit providers of mental health services, Thresholds provides a comprehensive program of therapeutic support, case management, education, job training and placement, and housing. With 30 service locations and more than 75 housing developments in the Chicagoland area, Thresholds serves about 6,000 people with mental illness each year.

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Decatur Residents Raise Money to Help Save Homeless Day Shelter from Blagojevich Administration Funding Cuts

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 27, 2008

(Decatur, IL) — The looming financial crisis of Decatur’s Oasis Day Center, caused by Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s decision to slash funding to the homeless day shelter, has generated generous support from local residents.

A May 5 town meeting brought in $77,705, nearly half of what Oasis needs to offset a $160,000 cut in state funding for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The Decatur Club of AT&T Pioneers, a group of telecommunications employees and retirees who take on charitable project, presented a $500 check on Thursday.

The crisis was triggered after the Illinois Division of Mental Health said it would cut annual funding from $230,000 to $75,000 for the coming year.

So far donations have come from stock worth approximately $50,000, individuals giving $11,505, St. Mary’s Hospital $10,000, and local churches $5,700.

“We’ve heard from other churches who are planning to donate but don’t know yet what that will be,” said Diana Knaebe, president of Heritage Behavioral Health Center.

She added that half the proceeds from a premiere of a documentary film in Decatur next month could generate another $10,000 to $15,000.

The center serves 175 to 200 people daily.

Posted in Governor Rod Blagojevich, Illinois Budget, Illinois Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

C4 Among First in Nation to Pilot Mental Health ‘First Aid’ Project

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 21, 2008

(Chicago, IL) — Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4) was selected as one of seven sites nationwide to pilot Mental Health First Aid, an innovative program to help the general public to provide ‘first aid’ to someone experiencing a mental health crisis.

C4 Regional Director Viviana Ploper and C4 Ridge Site Director Claudia Kottwitz participated in the initial February 4-8 training in Palm Springs, California, sponsored by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (NCCBH). Both members are now certified to present the MHFA training.

“It’s the mental health equivalent of CPR,” observes Ploper, who will conduct C4’s first training session –targeted for C4 nonclinical staff. “The 12-hour training focuses on the more common mental health crises of depression and anxiety, substance use, psychotic behavior and impulse and control disorders.”

“If someone is having a panic attack on a bus, an adult trained in mental health first aid could help the person,” explains Ploper.

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American Psychiatric Foundation Recognizes C4 for Minority Mental Health Care

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 21, 2008

(Chicago, IL)Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4) has received a national award from the American Psychiatric Foundation for its achievements in community mental health for minorities.

The agency was one of four recipients nationwide to receive an Honorable Mention in the APF’s fifth annual Awards for Advancing Minority Health competition at the 2008 APF Annual Benefit in Washington, D.C. on May 3.

In announcing the award, the Foundation recognized C4 for “consistently implementing successful, innovative approaches … that include: actively recruiting staff and clinical leadership to reflect the ethnic and racial diversity of its population served; hiring parent advocates to breakdown cultural and racial barriers to treatment; and engaging in partnerships with other agencies to reach ethnic populations culturally resistant to mental health services.”

Posted in Illinois Mental Health Care, Illinois Minority Mental Health Care | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Drug Treatment Helps Push Down Illinois Prison Recidivism Rates, New Statistics Say

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 21, 2008

(Chicago, IL) — Since fiscal year 2004, Illinois has successfully rolled back recidivism rates from record levels, reduced the rate of new crime among parolees, slowed the prison population growth rate, and saved taxpayers more than $60 million, according to new state statistics.

Governor Rod Blagojevich and the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) reported at a press conference in Chicago on May 19 that the number of new convictions for crimes among parolees has decreased by over 18% from 4,567 in FY04 to 3,742 in FY07, the largest decline in state history.

Additionally, Governor Blagojevich and IDOC report:

  • Total arrests among parolees experienced a 23% decline from FY04 to FY07.
  • The prison population has increased by only 4.5% since the end of FY02, which is the slowest rate of growth over any similar time frame since the Illinois Department of Corrections was established in FY70.
  • Reduction in repeat crimes has saved taxpayers an estimated $64 million in prison costs since 2004.

The figures stand in stark contrasts to Fiscal Years 1989 – 2005 when the state prison population doubled from 22,000 to 44,000, and the recidivism rate increased to nearly 55% — meaning that 55% of all inmates released from prison returned to prison within three years.

“The State of Illinois is leading the nation in its efforts to reduce crime and recidivism.” said Joan Petersilia, Professor Criminology, University of California, Irvine. “This is the type of progress that has required tremendous leadership by Governor Blagojevich and partnerships among both corrections and social service officials.”

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Mental Health Advocates in Springfield, Urge Illinois Lawmakers to Oppose ‘Sweep’ of Mental Health Care Money

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 16, 2008

(Springfield, IL) — More than 200 mental health advocates came to Springfield on Wednesday asking legislators to forbid Governor Rod Blagojevich from sweeping away existing mental health care money and to ask for more money fund to mental health programs.

Advocates from Stepping Stones and Janet Wattles Center were among 55 people who traveled from Rockford to lobby the Illinois General Assembly.

“The reason we’re here is because treatment works — if we can get it,” said Mark Heyrman, a prominent mental health advocate in Illinois. “In order to have treatment, you have to have money to provide the treatment.”

Heyrman said mental health agencies need the dedicated mental health money to care for thousands of mentally ill individuals and it should not be used to plug a hole in this year’s budget.

The Senate has approved a bill, S.B. 530, to empower the governor to sweep $530 million from dedicated funds into the operating budget. Steve Brown, spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), said, however, the House has no plan to vote on the legislation.

Meanwhile, Frank Anselmo, left, CEO of the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois, expressed concern that $10 million appropriated in this year’s budget for mental health care has gone unspent by the state.

But Kelley Quinn, spokeswoman for the governor, said the money is being allocated to agencies.

“Nothing is being held,” she said. “It’s not like it’s just sitting there.”

Quinn said there might have been a delay because the budget for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, was not finalized until last fall.

The money remains in a special account managed by the Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes.

“It’s unspent,” said Anselmo.

Posted in Governor Rod Blagojevich, Illinois Budget, Illinois General Assembly, Illinois Mental Health Care, Illinois Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

U.S. Grants Grants $50 Million to 20 States to Ease Access to Primary Medical Care; Illinois Gets $2 Million, Mental Health Providers to be Partners

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 13, 2008

(Washington, D.C.) — Grants of $50 million to 20 states to help improve access to primary medical care so that Medicaid beneficiaries could avoid improper use of costly hospital emergency rooms was announced on April 18 by U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Illinois will receive a two-year $2,006,000 grant for the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services for an Emergency Room Diversion program that will locate new Community Health Center sites on or near hospital campuses and partners with Illinois mental health providers.

“These grants provide new programs and services to help people get the non-emergency care they need in the most appropriate setting,” CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems said.

These grants will help Medicaid programs fund local and rural initiatives to provide alternative health care settings for individuals with non-emergency medical needs

The first award of $26 million will fund 29 programs in 20 states, including Illinois. The remaining $24 million will be available to grantees in 2009.

Grantees will use the funds to:

  • Establish new community health centers;
  • Extend the hours of operation at existing clinics;
  • Educate beneficiaries about new services; and
  • Provide for electronic health information exchange between facilities for better coordination of care.

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Gov. Blagojevich Slashes Decatur Homeless Day Center Funding, Local Leaders Try to Fill the Gap

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 9, 2008

(Decatur, IL) — At a recent Decatur town hall meeting, local civic leaders gathered to provide money and to debate the threatened closure of the Oasis Day Center.

Governor Rod Blagojevich‘s Administration has slashed state funding to Oasis from $230,000 to $75,000 for Fiscal Year 2009, leaving a gaping hole in its budget..

Diana Knaebe, right, president of Heritage Behavorial Health Center which runs the Oasis, said, “I want to keep it open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for 365 days of the year. If you have family, you wouldn’t want them out in the cold or be hot and have no place to go.”

At least 175 to 200 people seek refuge at the Oasis every day between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Mary Garrison, assistant professor of social work at Millikin University in Decatur said Oasis offers a safe haven for homeless to take showers, wash their clothes, access to a telephone and job postings, along with socializing with others by playing cards and other games.

If Oasis closes, Knaebe says the homeless will turn to local emergency services, police department, restaurants, libraries, churches, parks and businesses.

Hoping to save Oasis, Robert Bushey with Central Christian Church presented a check of $4,000 to the center. The church gave $5,000 when Oasis first opened back in 1999.

Millikin student Krista Carter presented a $10,000 check to Oasis on behalf of St. Mary’s Hospital CEO Kevin Cast. Kevin Breheny, president of J.L. Hubbard Insurance and Bonds, matched St. Mary’s with a $10,000 check.

The Rev. Anthony Anderson with the Black Clergy of Decatur and AOK Travel Network pledged $1,000 annually to Oasis.

Oasis remains $125,000 short.

Posted in Governor Rod Blagojevich, Illinois Budget, Illinois Mental Health Care, Illinois Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Number of Illinois Residents Waiting in 2008 for Alcohol, Drug Abuse Treatment Jumps 17%, Report Says

Posted by Frank Anselmo on May 9, 2008

(Springfield, IL) – The estimated number of Illinois residents waiting for alcohol and drug abuse assessment and treatment at state-financed facilities in 2008 rose 17 percent in, according to a report released at a press conference in Springfield on May 1.

The report by the Survey Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago surveyed 106 Illinois community treatment providers in December 2007 and revealed 7,541 people were waiting for some form of treatment, up from 6,467 in March 2007.

“Substance abuse treatment works best when an individual is ready,” said Sara Moscato Howe, above, CEO of the Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association. “Turning people away at the door is unacceptable and only leads to crises for the person and the community.”

Moscato Howe said the state must invest $41 million this year to provide care to the growing number of untreated Illinois residents, to decrease wait times, and to provide relief to community service providers burdened by escalating expenses.

State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg
(D-Evanston), left, is backing Moscato Howe’s call for additional money. Schoenberg is sponsoring legislation, S.B. 2886, to boost funding by $41 million in this year’s budget.

“Illinois is losing the battle against drug and alcohol abuse by failing to care for those who need treatment,” said Schoenberg. “We must stop the growing number of people forced on to waiting lists. We must be able to provide services for those who need help by adequately funding substance abuse treatment and prevention.”

Across the state, northern Illinois has the most people, 2,168, waiting for care. The fewest, 830, is in southern Illinois. The report also estimated that 595 youth are waiting for treatment. Central Illinois has the most youth waiting for treatment with 182 on waiting lists.

The funding legislation’s fate is uncertain.

Posted in Illinois Drug Treatment, Illinois General Assembly, Illinois Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »