Mental Illness Awareness Week

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- With less than a month before Rockford’s Singer Mental Health Center shuts down, community members rally for treatment for those battling mental illnesses.

Sandy Simon is one of many in the Rockford community that deals with mental illness on a daily basis. Today she spoke about being a parent to a mentally ill son at a mental illness rally in front of the Winnebago County Justice Center.

"As much as we struggle, it's actually they are struggling much more than us. And our member, family member, wants it to be the way it was before he had the illness."

Simon's son has been in and out of the Singer Mental Health Center, which will be shutting down later this month.

"The families are a little frustrated because if they do need to go to a hospital, it's going to be far away, and then we won't be able to support them as much. So I wish Singer was still open."

Yet, leaders in the mental health community say they are working together to ensure patients receive treatment they need at the new Rosecrance Triage Facility.

"The triage center will be the central point of entry for anyone in a psychiatric emergency. Assessments can be conducted. And from that point of entry, we would determine risk, need, and urgency, and be able then to make referrals,” says Mary Ann Abate, Mental Health Services Vice President.

Abate says one in four families is affected by mental illness, and funding from the state is essential going into the future.

The rally today was a hosted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness Northern Illinois Chapter. The goal of the rally was to reduce the stigma attached to mental disorders.

Singer is scheduled to shut its doors on Halloween. From there, patients will be directed to the new Rosecrance Triage Facility to determine the next step in their treatment.

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