Illinois mental health lifeline program for kids is collapsing under demand, investigation finds
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, you can get help from the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988.
There’s a program in Illinois that’s supposed to assess and help children going through mental health crises. It’s called Screening, Assessment and Support Services, or SASS. A child in a family with Medicaid or without insurance makes a call to a hotline. The state then works with nonprofits from across the state to try to help the child who might be dealing with a mental health crisis, or even contemplating suicide. But an investigation by reporters at public radio station WBEZ in Chicago found there have been more complaints in the past year about children waiting hours just for an initial assessment. And in many cases, the state doesn’t even know if the children who are screened get mental health support or treatment.
The 21st was joined by the two reporters behind the investigation to talk about the program, where it's failing, and what could be done about it.
Education reporter, WBEZ
Public health and Cook County reporter, WBEZ
Prepared for web by Owen Henderson
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