September 19th, Mary Garrison, Professor of Social Work at Millikin University, will speak to us about mental health in Illinois. In the latter half of the last century, mental hospitals were closing across the USA. Rather than receiving care from trained health professionals, it has become common for those living with mental illness to end up incarcerated for exhibiting anti-social, often violent, behavior. Once in the criminal justice system, guards untrained in mental healthcare, often place them in solitary, afraid of what the mentally ill inmate might do to them and to others. Typically there have been no alternative resources. Are there changes on the horizon? Pritzker signed legislation in July focused on the need for insurance companies to cover mental health care as well as to ensure, through the Children’s Mental Health Partnership, that all children have access to mental healthcare in school. Will this make a difference? Are there other bills for which we should lobby? Is there help for those who have suffered mentally during COVID? Please come to listen to what Mary has to say and find out if there is anything that we can do to help, particularly here at home in Macon County.
Professor Garrison engages in research in the areas of poverty, homelessness and mental health. She is involved with many social service organizations across Decatur and recently co-authored a book titled “Your Playbook for Beating Depression: Essential Strategies for Managing and Living with Depression.”