Over the weekend, Gov. J.B. Pritzker was honored at the Haymarket Gala, which centers around recovery from mental health issues or substance abuse problems. All while Illinois deals with several issues in the field.
Pritzker was given the Father Mac Appreciation Award by the Gala, which goes to an individual who makes improvements to substance abuse care or mental health treatment through the use of policy.
Pritzker told the Gala he had set money aside in this year’s budget to improve care for those throughout the state.
“That’s why I’ve proposed historic new investments in behavioral and mental health care in this year’s budget,” Pritzker said. “We are creating our first ever portal for families that are seeking care so that they can learn about the resources that are available to them and be matched with what best meets the needs of their family members.”
Pritzker said Illinois has vastly improved its mental health system under his tenure.
“Illinois really has remarkable progress. We ranked 16th in the nation for behavioral health services just years ago,” Pritzker said. “Wait, it gets better. Illinois is now number nine.”
The award for Pritzker comes on the heels of the Office of the Inspector General for the Illinois Department of Human Services reporting a cover-up culture at the Choate Mental Health Facility in Anna, in which employees would collude with each other and provide false information to investigators about the incidents at the facility.
Choate Mental Health and Development Center is a state-run facility for those with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities located in Anna, Illinois.
In 2022, there were 84 reports of physical abuse, nine reports of sexual abuse, 39 reports of mental abuse, two reports of financial exploitation, 25 cases of neglect, and three deaths.
According to a report published by ProPublica, more than 1,500 incidents of abuse and neglect were reported over the past decade. Allegations include a patient having his arm broken by a worker and accusations of making patients dig through feces.
According to budget documents, Choate Mental Health received more than $4.6 million in life and safety improvements between the fiscal year 2022 and 2023.
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April 26, 2023 at 02:48PM