top of page

the campaign for


Screen Shot 2021-08-18 at 2.42.24 PM.png

Disinvestment in public mental health resources is hurting Chicagoans.

Treatment Not Trauma seeks to create a 24-hour crisis response hotline for mental health-related emergencies and to reopen Chicago's shuttered mental health clinics.

Chicago needs treatment programs to heal our neighborhoods.  

  • Facebook - White Circle
  • Twitter - White Circle


In the city of Chicago, the Chicago police officers are the primary responders to mental health crises.


Unfortunately, when the police are called, their presence results in an escalation of the crisis and increases the risk of violence. This results in tragic consequences of violence and trauma rather than healing.

The Collaborative for Community Wellness (CCW) demands that the city of Chicago fund a public mental health crisis response and care system. This is the campaign for #TreatmentNotTrauma and it includes:

  • Halting the implementation of the Mayor's police co-responder program that continues to send officers to mental health crisis emergencies.

  • Investing $100 million for the creation of a city-wide non-police crisis response. 

  • Use 988 as a city-wide 24-hour hotline to connect people with non-police crisis response units, building on the existing capacity of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) five public mental health clinics to prevent and respond to crisis situations.

  • Developing teams of social workers, paramedics, and peer-support workers who will respond to crises (instead of police) within the community and connect people to ongoing support through CDPH clinics to address social and mental health needs. This program would be similar to programs that already exist in other cities.

  • Reopening our public mental health clinics.

helen morley tnt mental health.jpg
helen morley tnt mental health.jpg

Mental health crises are a symptom of 
divestment in mental health services

The late Helen Morley protest against the closure of the Beverly / Morgan Park Clinic in 2009 under Mayor Daley.

mental health protest sarah ji 2014.jpg



In 2012, the city of Chicago closed half of the public mental health clinics, only 5 clinics remain.


The mental health of communities of color is suffering due to the trauma of systemic disinvestment, lack of nearby services, and service costs.

Mental health advocates host a vigil for
mental health at Cook County Jail. Photo credit: Sarah Ji.



Sustainability - these services must be part of the public infrastructure to ensure long-term sustainability. We cannot rely on short-term grant funds to non-profit providers to deliver these services.


Quality - making the services public means investing in building a high quality long-term workforce of crisis intervention workers, paying a living wage, in order to avoid burnout and high turnover common in non-profits.


Accountability and Transparency - housing these services through the Chicago Department of Public Health allows the public to have oversight and access data on the impact of these services. Public mental health centers shall include public oversight through community advisory councils to be created at each center.


One study conducted in Chicago found that Crisis Intervention Team trained police officers DO NOT use less force than police officers who have not been trained.* The sole reliance of police to respond to mental health crises has led to Cook County Jail becoming the largest mental health provider in the U.S.*


*Melissa S. Morabito et al., (2012) Crisis Intervention Teams and People With Mental Illness: Exploring the Factors That Influence the Use of Force, Crime & Delinq. 57, 58. Ford, M. (2015, June 8) America's Largest Mental Health Hospital is a Jail. The Atlantic. Retrieved from


Want to help spread the word about the campaign? Head over to our toolkit to get access to talking points, graphics, and hashtags used.

You can find our toolkit here

Thanks for your support!

bottom of page