Lightfoot Administration Won't Reopen Mental Health Clinics, But Offers 'Tele-Psychiatry'

Craig Dellimore
October 24, 2019 - 9:01 pm
Chicago City Hall

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- During her campaign, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she wanted to re-open some closed mental health clinics the city once ran.

Now, her administration is promoting a different approach. Critics say she’s walking back a campaign promise.

WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.

Lightfoot, who unveiled her proposed 2020 budget earlier this week, is holding the line and not planning to reopen any of the city mental health clinics closed under predecessor Rahm Emanuel.

Her budget calls for more than $9 million in new funding, doubling Chicago’s spending for mental health services.

Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said the city will be serving more people under partnerships with publicly funded facilities. The city is working, for example, with the county medical system and has helped launch a “tele-psychiatry” service, she said.

Some Chicago aldermen are upset that city clinics are not reopening, as Lightfoot promised. Arwady’s nomination as commissioner is stalled in the City Council.

Lightfoot expects she’ll eventually be confirmed.