Shortage of funding may lead to troubling times for mental health care in Illinois

The future of mental health service in Illinois will be a challenging one if the lack of funding continues for places like Transitions of Western Illinois .

For the past 60 years Transitions and other agencies have received grants from the state which have enabled them to offer sliding fee services to people who did not have Medicaid or insurance. But those grants have stopped.

Transitions has been fortunate over the last 3 years to receive private grants to support its services but executive director Barbara Baker Chapin says even that money is coming to an end.

"When people have a mental health problem and community based services that are affordable aren't available symptoms tend to get worse. And when people have increased symptoms of mental distress likely they seek out much more expensive forms of treatments," she said.

She says that could mean an extra burden on places like Blessing Hospital which can not turn people away even if it gets no financial reimbursement.

It will also mean an extra burden on law enforcement and the courts which will have to deal with more issues related to mental health.