Alderman Cardenas Hearing on Chicago Mental Health Clinic Closures

Kathy Powers Witness Statement
August 19, 2014

Good Evening:

My name is Kathy Powers. I am here with the Northside Action for Justice, the Alliance for Community Services and me.

I am 63, the same ages as Robin William and I live with bipolar illness since I was 11. I spent years in mental institutions in four different states. Almost every day I wake up with a sense of dread and hopelessness about my life.

I used to receive excellent care at the Northtown/Rogers Park Mental Health Clinic. Due to funding cuts at the clinics and loss of psychiatric care, with no warning, referral services or support, I lost my psychiatric services and my ability go get my lithium. I went to an ER to get a prescription for lithium. I was afraid at this time that I would be committed to the hospital but I was not. I received some support therapy after discharge at the Northtown Clinic, but no medication.

After my month’s supply of lithium ran out, I became very suicidal and was hospitalized again. I still did not receive psychiatric transition services. Then the clinic closed.

At this point, I continued to search for a psychiatrist who accepted Medicare and/or Medicaid. I could not find one and I became hospitalized again. My hospital doctor did not know me, and literally discharged me from the hospital with a notice the he would not follow me after a statutory 30 days. I was referred to Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4) where I receive rudimentary services to this day.

Because of random acts of kindness from strangers, I receive some comfort by advocating for person living with disabilities and support self-empowerment to my peers.

  • If the city does not increase mental health services, the cuts from previous years will render mental health services increasingly inadequate.
  • The city needs to reopen the closed clinics, join a Medicare provider to increase its revenue.
  • It substantially must increase funding and staffing for mental health clinics in 2015.
  • I think the city owes all who have and continue to suffer from the clinics’ closings an official apology to the harm it has inflicted.

Thank you.


About Kathy Powers
Advocacy is my therapy. Chicago, IL

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