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Advocates Warn of "Broken" Mental Health System

By By SARA BURNETT, Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - As lawmakers debate ways to prevent another mass shooting, Illinois mental health advocates say more attention - and money - must be directed to a system they describe as overwhelmed.

Between 2009 and 2012, Illinois slashed funding for community mental health programs by more than 30 percent. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, that's more than all but three other states.

Even before those cuts, Illinois' per capita spending on mental health was just $85.

The result, experts say, is a system that is ill-equipped to identify or care for the mentally ill, including someone intent on carrying out a violent act.

Gov. Pat Quinn emerged from a recent school safety summit saying the state must "do everything possible" to prevent violence, including looking at mental health.

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