Gomel: The time is now to address behavioral health

The time is now to address behavioral health

The pandemic has had a devastating impact on the mental health of every age group and in every community across Illinois. The rates of anxiety, depression and suicide have soared as families and businesses weathered financial uncertainty, job loss, social isolation and COVID-related illness and death. This crisis has had a devastating impact on our behavioral health care workforce, which had shrunk by 23% statewide – here in Winnebago County this translates to only 1 provider for every 495 patients in need.

The helpers need help.

Resources have been strained, but with additional support greater access to care can be made available for those who seek treatment for behavioral health issues. Legislators in Springfield have recognized the crisis, including our own Senators Syverson and Stadelman, and Representatives Vella and West who are among those supporting increased funding for behavioral services.

While we are grateful for these efforts, we cannot rest until the funding is secured and our friends and neighbors can get the care they desperately need.

It’s worth noting that a large portion of the proposed funding would come from a federal Medicaid match, meaning we can provide the needed financial resources to Rosecrance and other behavioral health clinics in Winnebago County and across the state without overburdening Illinois taxpayers.

We call upon the General Assembly and Governor Pritzker to work quickly to secure this critical behavioral health funding and give our facilities the resources necessary to combat the behavioral health issues plaguing our communities.

Life’s waiting for so many of our neighbors and friends.