PHOTO Tom Cullerton honored for protecting mental health fundingSPRINGFIELD – The Association of Community Mental Health Authorities of Illinois (ACMHAI) presented an award to Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) for his efforts to protect mental health funding.

Cullerton advanced legislation last year to push for greater local government consolidation.

During negotiations, he learned that local health boards could be caught in the crossfire of potential government consolidation plans.

He worked diligently to ensure local mental health dollars were protected by removing Community Mental Health Authorities from potentially disastrous effects.

Cullerton, chief architect of the government consolidation models used in Senate Bill 3 and House Bill 4501, worked with ACMHAI to make sure DuPage County’s vulnerable populations were protected from unintentional consequences.   

“The purpose of government consolidation is to streamline processes to make sure government is working in step with the needs of the people,” Cullerton said. “Government should be efficient and effective. But when we eliminate services for our most vulnerable residents, our efforts become counterproductive. I simply cannot stand for that.”   

ACMHAI plans to continue working with Cullerton to advocate for state mental health funding.

"Senator Cullerton has shown great leadership in his commitment to protect the $75 million in local mental health grant funding resources generated in local counties, townships and municipalities throughout the state of Illinois,” Debbie Humphrey, ACMHAI President said. “At a time when demand for mental health and substance abuse services is dramatically increasing while funding sources are shrinking, these valuable local funds serve as an important lifeline to those seeking access to treatment."