As of July 1, our region is within reach of a pragmatic solution to a major social problem -- the overuse of emergency rooms as the default destination of those with mental illness who are apprehended by police but should not be incarcerated.
Law enforcement officials find it frustrating to sit for hours in emergency rooms until the overworked medical staff finds the time to treat a person. Those struggling with mental illness often worsen while waiting -- trauma on a street followed by trauma in a loud and crowded ER waiting room. And the families of those with mental illness are often left to wonder what is happening to their loved one.
(To Read Full Article, click link below. Yvonne Smith, of Evansto and United Power for Action and Justice, and Shakeel Syed, of Round Lake Beach and Lake County United, are community leaders affiliated with the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation. Rick Lathrop, of Batavia and Fox River Valley Initiative, and Lucy Tarabour, of Clarendon Hills and DuPage United, also contributed to this article.)