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Elsewhere In Our State: The Mental Health Program Progress Made, Improvement Needed By WALTER E. WOLFF In Lindsay-Schaub Newspapers Communities and zone centers in Illinois working together have slashed the number of residents making the somber trip to state mental hospitals. Macon, Moultrie, Shelby, Piatt and DeWitt counties, as a group, sent 110 residents to Kankakee State Hospital in an average 6-month period in 1966. Twenty-eight persons were sent from the same counties the first six months their inpatient unit was opened in the Adolf Meyer Zone Center in Decatur. Effingham county's usual six month's loss to the state hospital was cut from 22 to five residents. Winnebago and Boone counties in 1966 had 800 patients admitted to state hospitals. These same two counties had only 400 admitted in 1967 after 'an in-patient unit of 26 beds was opened in the H. Douglas Singer Zone Center in Rockford. In Saline County, in the extreme southern part of the state, the zone office reports that every six months during a three-year period, prior to the start of the zone program, between 21 and 26 county residents were admitted to Anna State Hospital. For the period of July to December of 1967, only five residents were admitted. Psych Wards Opened Psychiatric wards have been opened in Decatur's two general hospitals, St. Mary's, and Decatur and Macon County. Now many mentally ill persons receive intensive treatment there and at the Meyer Zone Center making the trip to Kankakee unnecessary. The same pattern is developing-in other cities and counties around the state. "The general hospital unit is more important than anything else in holding down the number of persons going to the state hospital," says Dr. Lewis Kurke, director of the Meyer Zone Center. These are just a few of the positive developments in mental health in Illinois. Of course there are negative aspects to the picture. Perhaps one of the most distressing is the 3,000 persons on the mentally retarded waiting list for Lincoln and Dixon state schools. Parents have experienced delays of up to eight years in placing their children in these schools. Another is the large number of emotionally disturbed or mentally ill children who are in homes for delinquent boys and girls, or their own homes. Hospitals Crowded The mentally ill are persons who were born with normal mental abilities, but who have become emotionally disturbed or mentally sick. Mentally retarded persons, on the other hand, were born with less than normal mental ability. Their minds will never be able to develop beyond a certain stage. This may vary from the intellect of a teen-ager to that of a 1 or 2 year old child. Another deplorable fact is that the state mental hospitals, which house just the mentally ill in most cases, are still too overcrowded and understaffed to give much high quality treatment. An aspect which aggravates many persons is the fact that the six new zone centers are still "half empty." This has been the basis for many attacks on the zone centers, the department of mental health and its director, Dr. Harold M. Visotsky. GOP Bill Vetoed Illinois Republican state legislators, taking the position that the department is not using its facilities, passed a bill in 1967 requiring that half of the space in the six zone centers be used for emotionally disturbed children and the mentally, retarded the next four years. The bill was opposed by Dr. Visotsky, who argued that the building of comprehensive mental health centers requires programming them over a 3 to 5 year period and opening them up unit by unit. Gov. Otto Kerner killed the bill saying in his veto message that the zone centers were built for the mentally ill, not the retarded. The controversy is not dead. In primary campaign speeches, Richard B. Ogilvie, GOP candidate for governor, reaffirmed the basic Republican position that the empty space in the zone centers should be used for the mentally retarded. This issue can be expected to be a live one in the gubernatorial campaign this fall. A positive aspect of mental health developments is that new county mental health clinics are springing up and old ones are expanding services. This activity is mostly the result of a new method of organizing and funding county mental health program — local mental health tax referendums. Larger counties .have been co-operating with smaller ones NEED CARPETING? Special Sale 12'-15' Full and Partial Rolls LLOYD G. SMITH Co. 1322 S. Harlem Dial 233-8614 9-9 P.M. Monday Through Saturday Some cars are talking big price slashes. They know what they're worth. Sue your Chrvrolot do.ili'r. His yearend deal'.., on all his c.itv are honestly attractive. Witness the special savings on popular V8's .nut automatic transmissions loi .ill hi). 1 , Chevrolots in setting up mental health clinics. For example, Macon County passed the mental health referendum in June 1966. Its mental health clinic now sells services to Moultrie. Shelby, Piatt and DeWitt counties. The new concept is one that still is not widely understood. It is that the care and treatment of the mentally ill should take place in the community and not in a distant state hospital. Community treatment avoids the needless disruption of normal patterns of living and the harmful effects that so often come from distant and prolonged hospitalizalion, according to nationally known psychiatric authorities. All 50 states and thousands of communities are trying the "bold new approach" of community-centered mental health treatment called for by President John F. Kennedy. Illinois Ahead Illinois was one step ahead. In 1960 Illinois had 50,000 patients crowded into its state mental hospitals. Few were getting adequate treatment and most were receiving only custodial care. The hospitals bad all of the characteristics so often attributed to "snake-pit" institutions, It was obvious that the institutions themselves had many dehumanizing and damaging effects on the inmates. In 1958 a mental health bond issue failed. In 1960 another one totaling $150 million passed. Newly elected Gov. Otto Kerner, five days after taking office in January 1961, appointed Dr. Francis J. Gerty to head the Illinois Department of Public Welfare. Gerty was a past president of the American Psychiatric Association and chairman of the University of Illinois medical school's department of psychiatry. In discussing the state's institutions in 19§1 Dr. Gerty Trouble In Medical Field get a car worth owning- WOOLWORTH'S cJULY "Regiita" luxury cotton terry... BATH TOWEIS 41 Super absorbent beauties in a wide choice of lively colors. 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The community or county mental health clinic and other community resources were to be the first echelon for mental health services. If the community did not provide a needed service then the second echelon or mental health zone center would supply it. The state hospital was to be the last resort. This was adopted as the pattern for the Illinois mental health program. The new plan was based on intensive treatment with the patient returning to the community as soon as possible. It also emphasized outpatient treatment; day treatment with the patient returning to his home at night and on weekends; and night treatment with the patient working during the day. The community clinic, the zone center and the state hospital all were to be "open" facilities, according to the plan that was being adopted in many states. In "open" facilities, all but a few patients are free to come and go. They enter the facility voluntarily and may leave when they wish to. The single thing that has been most important in making these new techniques possible, some authorities say, is the use of tranquilizer and stimulant drugs in treating mental patients. They quickly bring a disturbed person under control and make possible other forms of treatment. It was in 1961 that the legislature created a new Department of Mental Health in Illinois. Of the $150 million bond issue it was decided to spend $100 million for rehabilitation of the state mental hospitals and $50 million for zone centers. The legislature divided the state into eight zones, and since most patients are multi-problem persons, each zone was to supply all of the state's "human services" — mental health, public health, public aid, youth commission services, vocational rehabilitation, and children and family services. Since funds were not available to build zone centers in each of the eight zones, it was decided to build them in the six most populations. Omitted were two zones in Southern Illinois. It was thought that the East St. Louis zone might some day be included in mental health plans for the metropolitan St. Louis area. The Carbondale zone, in the southernmost part of the state, has no large population centers and state authorities reasoned some smaller centers might work out well. Now all six zone centers are open — Rockford, Chicago North, Chicago South, Peoria, Springfield and Decatur Champaign. But building the zone centers was just a beginning. Staffing and financing has proved a big, time-consuming job — so time-consuming that the siz zone centers are still "half-empty." reeport (ill.) Journal-Standard wed., jui y 3,1968 p g . CELEBRATE WITH US! ********************** ***** PLUS A BIG DISCOUNT FROM OUR REGULAR LOW PRICES ON ANY PURCHASE OF *2°° OR MORE! I************************* ***** FRIDAY and SATURDAY ONLY! 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