Advocates for Kane County Mental Health to host May 1 forum on mental health boards

Posted4/27/2021 5:21 PM

Advocates for Kane County Mental Health, a coalition of concerned citizens, faith communities and nonprofit organizations providing mental health and other social services, will host an in-person event to publicize the ongoing Dundee and Elgin Townships 708 mental health boards dispute on Saturday, May 1.

It will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren, 783 Highland Ave. in Elgin. It will be held in the parking lot behind the church. Park on a side street (Hamilton Avenue, North Union Street, and McClure Avenue).


On March 17, 2020, voters in Dundee and Elgin townships approved referenda to create and fund 708 mental health boards in order to provide mental health, developmental disabilities and substance use services in their townships.

The Kane County Clerk's Office recently decided not to extend the taxes that were approved for those services.

"It's ironic that just as Kane County residents and health agencies released the results of the 2021 Community Health Assessment naming mental health as the number one heath priority and need in the community" said Lore Baker, president and CEO of the Association for Individual Development, "that the means to address and improve mental health services was denied to Elgin and Dundee Township residents by discounting the will of voters due to a supposed technicality."

"Gathering on May Day is significant in many ways," explained Bernadette May, executive director of Family Service Association for Greater Elgin, "May is mental health month, tax bills are being mailed without the levy included, and it is International Workers' Day.

"A big part of what helps someone do their job well is an environment that supports their mental well-being. It is estimated that mental health and substance abuse cost U.S. businesses between $80 and $100 billion annually," May said. "We need to be able to support people where they live, work and learn. This is impossible to do if the mental health systems are not funded."

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"Our church is supportive of the community members whose votes were not counted by Kane County," said Cheryl Gray, chairwoman of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren. "Clearly, the intent of the majority was to offer greater mental health services to anyone in need. We are disappointed that this important work cannot occur."

The event begins with a meet-and-greet followed by a selection of speakers who will communicate the current situation and explain what action steps are under way.

All are welcome to attend and are encouraged to wear green for mental health awareness month and to show support for Elgin and Dundee 708 mental health boards.

Please practice social distancing and wear a face mask during the event.

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