Out of the Shadows: One family's journey through mental illness

October 10, 2011

By Aurora Aguilar

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Nearly a decade ago, a statewide taskforce found that one in 10 Illinois children suffered from mental illness, yet only 20 percent of them received treatment. It recommended a coordinated, well-funded plan to address the gap. Little came from that report. Meanwhile, budget cuts closed mental health clinics, many parents lost their jobs and more families lost access to vital services.

Next Monday, WBEZ will kick off Out of the Shadows, a series exploring the fractures in mental health care for children in Illinois. To preview the series, Aurora Aguilar introduced Eight Forty-Eight to two of the people featured in the coverage over the next three weeks.

Julian and his mom Gloria live on Chicago’s North Side. Their names were changed to protect their privacy. Julian’s 13 years old and lives with bipolar disorder. But as Aguilar learned while spending time with them at their home, the struggle began earlier than that.

Out of the Shadows will explore the fractures in mental health care for children in Illinois and illuminate how it affects our youth.

Gloria feared that her son might end up in juvenile jail; after all, 70 percent of kids in the juvenile justice system have some sort of mental illness. Her struggle to keep her son out of trouble highlighted some of the problems facing the state’s troubled children. To hear more of their story, tune in on Thursday, October 20th during Eight Forty-Eight.

WBEZ's Out of the Shadows series is supported in part by the T.P.C. Foundation, a family foundation of Exron Capital Inc.

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