July , 2018

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Mental Health Movement and CTU Clinicians’ Committee Tell Rahm: If you cared about Chicago’s youth you would add more school social workers and city mental health clinics!
CHICAGO, IL — The Mental Health Movement, which has fought Mayor Rahm Emanuel over his closing of half the city’s public mental health clinics, will publicly express its support for the Chicago Teachers Union’s struggle and highlight one of the key issues at stake in that struggle, during a press conference today, September 11, at 12 Noon, 5th Floor of City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle.
The press conference is being held by the Mental Health Movement, Chicago Teachers Union Clinicians Steering Committee, and Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY).
“This Mayor says teachers don’t care about kids, but it is exactly because they care that they’re on strike. How dare he talk about caring about kids when he refuses to hire more school social workers? When he shut down half of the city’s public mental health clinics that many CPS students’ families rely on?” says N’Dana Carter of the Mental Health Movement.
This will be a joint press conference with the CTU Clinicians Steering Committee, whose members will speak about their large caseloads, the need for more social workers, and the importance of their work. They will also explain how difficult their jobs are when families’ mental health needs are going unmet due to the Mayor’s is closing of community mental health clinics.
“If this Mayor really cared about the violence in our communities, he would be hiring more school social workers and creating more public mental health clinics to help kids and families deal with trauma, instead of giving out millions of dollars in TIF funds to subsidize profitable corporations,” says Veronica Morris-Moore of Fearless Leading by the Youth.
With violence on the rise in Chicago, more than ever school social workers and community mental health clinics are essential to help people cope with trauma, connect with services and create the stability necessary for students to concentrate and learn in school. 
  • There are currently less than 370 social workers for over 400,000 CPS students. That’s less than one social worker for every 1,000 students, when the School Social Work Association of America’s recommended level is at least one masters-level social worker for every 400 students.
  • Mayor Emanuel just closed six of the city’s 12 public mental health clinics. Social workers work with students and families to provide and refer services. Amongst the services they refer to are community mental health clinics. 
  • To meet National Association of School Psychologists guidelines, CPS would need to more than double its current number of school psychologists to at least 585.
  • With the closing of community-based mental health clinics and the inadequate availability of mental health and other social work resources at schools, many students are getting no support for trauma related to violence, family issues, and mental health issues. This makes it nearly impossible to concentrate and learn in school.
Press conference speakers will include:
  • David Temkin – School social worker at Near North Elementary
  • Benita Shanklin – CPS social worker at Goodlow and Carter Elementary
  • N’Dana Carter – organizer with Mental Health Movement and Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP), client of Greater Grand Mental Health Clinic
  • Veronica Morris-Moore – Fearless Leading by the Youth and recent CPS graduate
  • Jesus Campuzano – Mental Health Movement / former CPS special education student
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