Daily Herald Op-ed

Now is the time for transformative investments in mental health care

By Kevin Morrison and Grace Hong Duffin

Now more than ever, we need to make transformative investments in mental health care.

Too many people live with a mental health disorder but can’t access affordable care, leaving them to struggle and suffer alone — or end up in jail.

In Illinois, the Cook County Jail is the largest facility housing people with mental health disorders — and it’s one of the largest in the country. Today, nearly half of those incarcerated at the jail suffer from some form of mental illness.

Across the state, only 46.4% of adults with mental illness receive any mental health treatment. And in June of 2020, 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use, while 11% of adults seriously considered suicide.

These jaw-dropping numbers underscore the urgent need for governments to invest in mental health services. For too long, too many people have ignored their mental illnesses because they couldn’t afford to see a therapist, get treatment for addiction or access critical medication.

We can truly bounce back from this pandemic and come out stronger. But we must prioritize funding mental health care and ensure that every resident — no matter their ZIP code, income, race or other marginalized identity — is able to get the help they desperately need.

Read the full op-ed at DailyHerald.com.