Commissioner Fails to Show at Mental Health Town Hall Meeting


Community activist Lonnie Richardson discusses the need for mental health services for young people at a town hall on Aug. 5. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

Dozens of people concerned with the state of the city’s mental health services, who packed a community meeting this week, were disappointed when the city public health commissioner did not show up.

N’Dana Carter, a member of the Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP) community human rights organization, who was moderating the event at Mercy Hospital’s Joyce Auditorium, 2525 S. Michigan Ave., on the evening of August 5 told the audience that Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Bechara Choucair called and cancelled two hours before the meeting began.

“Our fearless leader Dr. Choucair…called at 3:30 p.m. to cancel. He will not be here,” declared Carter, a consumer at the Greater Grand/Mid-South Mental Health facility at 4314 S. Cottage Grove.

“Dr. Choucair didn’t make the meeting tonight, because he felt that we were going to ambush him. And he was afraid. He was afraid because the citizens of the city of Chicago and our visitors want the mental health clinics, and they don’t want privatization of any of the health clinics,” she added.

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