How saddened we all are by the events in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday with the senseless slaying of 26 individuals, 20 of whom were innocent children. I have been through Newtown many times. It rings of New England charm and quaintness – not danger.
Yet, we all know that troubled minds exist everywhere, in every state and town. It is hard to comprehend what turns such minds to rage and rampage – let’s hope we never understand.
We share with the nation our grief for the lives and dreams lost on Friday, for the innocence of our children and for our knowledge that life can be taken at any moment.
We must and can do better as a society. We need thoughtful discussion nationally and in Illinois on how we can create an accessible and responsive mental health system for those in need.
Right now we are moving in the opposite direction – fragmented and defunded services with hospitals at times being the only option and service of last resort. Yet even these services are subject to payment reductions and penalties as the state seeks to lower Medicaid costs.
We have a serious mental health crisis in Illinois and our nation. We must come together to address this tremendous need for the health and safety of our children today and of future generations to come.