Will County Officials: Closing Mental Health Facility Would Be Devastating
TINLEY PARK, Ill. (CBS) — Gov. Pat Quinn’s plan to close the Tinley Park Mental Health Facility is getting a big thumbs down from officials in Will County.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, the facility at 7400 183rd St. is in Cook County. But about 25 percent of the 2,000 patients it treats each year come from Will County.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports
“Just totally unacceptable, if we are going to close the facility and walk away,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh, standing next to State’s Attorney James Glasgow.
“We’ve seen time and time again, tragic stories from family members who love their mentally ill child, and then wind up being severely injured or killed by them. One murder as a result of the closing of Tinley Park would be intolerable,” Glasgow said. “There is a moral imperative to keep Tinley Park open, for the safety of the patients themselves, and all of the people in the Southland.”
Glasgow recently opened a mental health court in Will County. Both he and Walsh say most of the Tinley patients, who stay 15 days on average, have nowhere else to go.
Quinn’s office has also predicted closing Tinley Park, together with a facility for the developmentally disabled in Jacksonville, would save nearly $20 million. The two facilities together employ about 550 people.
But in January, Lisa Guardiola told CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman that Tinley Park was her only hope when she was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
“My road to recovery started at Tinley Park Mental Health Hospital,” she said. “If I didn’t go there I’d probably be out on the street.”
Quinn’s administration says community based care settings allow individualized attention based on the person’s needs. Critics say the closing facilities are the best option for some residents, who aren’t ready for community living.