How Rockford is dealing with loss of state mental health hospital

Nov 13, 2013

The facility that houses the Rosecrance triage center.
Credit Rosecrance
It's been one year since the state closed a mental health hospital in Rockford. IPR'S Mike Moen reports on how local providers are filling in the gaps for residents in northwest Illinois:

When the governor's office announced plans to close the Singer center, it made clear that the state wanted to focus more on community-based mental health care. Some of the money saved from the closing went toward establishing a care network for the Singer coverage area.

The Rosecrance organization has played a key role by opening a triage center in Rockford. Rosecrance's Mary Anne Abate says in the first year, the facility has treated more than 15-hundred people. She says roughly 60-percent of those patients were able to avoid going to the ER:

"We were able to stabilize in the triage environment and send home with supports and linkage to community services."

Abate says they have also secured grants to help with transportation costs for people who live outside of the Rockford-metro area. And she notes a crisis residential unit has been established to house patients for up to two weeks at a time.

Robin Garvey is with the northern Illinois chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illinois. She applauds what groups like Rosecrance have done. But she says they still worry that not enough people are being reached:

"The number of beds in Rockford did not increase enough to provide local services for everybody who needs them."

Garvey says more funding needs to be secured to help expand care under the new community-based network.