Chance the Rapper says he’s donating $1 million to help improve mental health services in Chicago.
The Chicago native announced the news during his second annual summit for his nonprofit SocialWorks on Thursday, which he streamed live via Twitter.
To start, six different mental wellness providers will receive $100,000 grants in Cook County, Illinois. Chance called the new initiative My State of Mind, which will serve as a mental health resource for Chicagoans. Summit attendees included members of the Illinois Health Department of Human Services and Chicago Department of Health.
“We need a new space to get information on how they feel and where they can go,” Chance said.
According to Mental Health America, the state of Illinois ranks #11 in overall mental health resources. The list was compiled by grading different factors including:
Adults with Any Mental Illness
Adults with Dependence or Abuse of Illicit Drugs or Alcohol (Marijuana, Heroin, Cocaine)
Adults with Serious Thoughts of Suicide
Youth with At Least one Past Year Major Depressive Episode (MDE)
Youth with Alcohol Dependence and Illict Drugs Use (Marijuana, Heroin, Cocaine)
Youth with Severe MDE
Adults with AMI who Did Not Receive Treatment
Adults with AMI Reporting Unmet Need
Adults with AMI who are Uninsured
Adults with Disability who Could Not See a Doctor Due to Costs
Youth with MDE who Did Not Receive Mental Health Services
Youth with Severe MDE who Received Some Consistent Treatment
Children with Private Insurance that Did Not Cover Mental or Emotional Problems
Students Identified with Emotional Disturbance for an Individualized Education Program
Mental Health Workforce Availability
But when you look at access to health care for adults, Illinois drops down to #22.
Since the 1960s, the number of beds in Illinois’ state-run psychiatric hospitals has decreased to fewer than 1,500 from 35,000, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The latest closures in 2012, including the Tinley Park center, coincided with Chicago shuttering half of its 12 mental health clinics.
Indeed, mental illness has been effectively criminalized in Illinois. Currently, the largest mental health hospital in Illinois is not even a hospital — it’s Cook County Jail.
This crisis is hardly isolated to Chicago alone. This ongoing nightmare is spreading throughout the nation. According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, jails and prisons serve as the largest mental health institutions in 44 states. Additionally, 10 times as many mentally ill individuals are currently incarcerated as…