Some Elgin-area residents are going without vital mental health services, such as emergency assessments, crisis counseling, psychiatry and other treatments – or waiting longer to receive such help – because of state funding cuts.

mental health imageOver the past two years the governor has eliminated state grants for individuals without insurance and grants for psychiatric services. At the Ecker Center in Elgin, this results in many people who are seeking mental health help being turned away during a time when the need is high.

The center has been forced to let a full time psychiatrist go, and have been unable to replace those hours of service to the public. Additionally, it has been forced to close one of its group homes.

Although it is managing to stay afloat in spite of not being fully funded, the Ecker Center is worried for its future and the future of mental health services for the state.

In an interview with the Elgin Courier News, Karen Beyer, the executive director said there is an increasing number of people who need these services. She explained that she’s not worried about the Ecker Center, but rather the people it can’t serve. “We are very frightened, all of us,” Beyer told the Courier.

The need for such services is very apparent to those that work at the center; they see it every day with their own eyes and have very little control to be able to meet those needs.

“It is heartbreaking to have people ask for services we used to freely provide and have to say, ‘sorry, we can’t do it,’” Beyer said in her interview.

Every day without a budget is another day that the people of Illinois continue to suffer and fear for their future. In Senator Castro’s 22nd District, The Ecker Center for Mental Health is just one of the many community organizations struggling to stay afloat during this unprecedented impasse.

“The Ecker Center and other organizations like it provide essential services to the people and families throughout the state,” said Castro. “They provide recovery and hope when it is most needed.”

Social services have been hit the hardest during this ongoing budget crisis. While the State of Illinois has been reducing funding for mental health services for the last nine years, the past two years have been detrimental to those centers dedicated to helping and serving the public. Unfortunately, their future is still uncertain.