ROCKFORD (WIFR) – It’s been a year since Rockford’s Singer Mental Health Center closed, a decision which left many people wondering where patients would go for help.
“They helped me find a place where I could live and they helped me learn about my disorder.”
Heidi Mackey stayed at Singer Mental Health Center for a month, while battling her bipolar disorder, but since the building shut down in October due to budget cuts, Mackey says some people with similar mental illnesses are struggling to get help.
“I have friends who have and they’ve had to go other places and hospitals you know are full and then where do you go?”
Yet some people believe Singer’s closing hasn’t stopped patients from receiving care.
“I don’t think it’s had nearly the negative impact that some people thought it was going to have."
Robin Garvey with the National Alliance of Mental Illness says now there’s more pressure on other local crisis centers.
“The wait times to get in to find a bed are longer than they used to be, we’re still hearing people waiting two or three days sometimes in the ER looking for a bed,” said Garvey.
That’s why some patients are sent to the Rosecrance Triage, a crisis residential center where people can stay up to two weeks. There are nurses and mental health workers on site 24/7 to help patients like Mackey get back on their feet.
Rosecrance served nearly 1,500 people in the year since Singer closed, according to Rosecrance representative Judy Emerson. Local hospital emergency rooms also can offer a few crisis beds for people with mental illness patients.