Local Editorials

Our View: Take advantage of Mental Health Board town hall

Many social service agencies, along with schools, vendors and essentially anyone who does business with the state of Illinois, has been feeling the pinch of late payments or a lack of funding for programs.

While it can’t completely close that gap, at least there is local control of some dollars collected in McHenry County that are distributed to local social service agencies for the benefit of McHenry County residents.

In fiscal 2016, the McHenry County Mental Health Board had about $13.5 million in its budget. Most of that money is carved up among about two dozen agencies who perform the board’s mission of working toward the prevention and treatment of mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance abuse – issues that have significant social implications and very direct consequences for families and individuals.

Those funds can and do make a difference and the needs are great. While there always will be needs in all of those categories, priorities do shift on occasion based on what providers are seeing in our communities.

Another tool the board uses to gauge those priorities is by hosting an annual town hall meeting to hear from members of the public about specific needs.

It’s important that voices be heard, particularly when resources are as finite as they are.

Anyone who’d like to help articulate these needs that range from helping find housing for a developmentally disabled adult with an elderly parent to a plea for funds to help young people fight heroin addiction is encouraged to attend this important discussion.

The town hall meeting will be at 6 p.m. May 18 at the McHenry County Mental Health Board’s office, 620 Dakota St., Crystal Lake. For information, call 815-455-2828.

Again, these are local tax dollars that are distributed locally. No one can take them to Springfield or Washington, D.C.

Take advantage of that local control by making sure your voices are heard by a board appointed to represent the interests of the people of McHenry County.

The owner of a $200,000 home in McHenry County pays about $91 a year to the Mental Health Board. The funds go to agencies you know from Home of the Sparrow to the National Alliance on Mental Illness to the Northern Illinois Special Recreation Association and various drug treatment providers among many others.

If you have a need you’d like to communicate, take this opportunity to do so.

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