Chicago hospital to expand crisis unit for mental illness

Chicago's Holy Cross Hospital plans to open a 32-bed crisis stabilization unit in February where police can take people experiencing psychiatric or substance-use problems.

Sinai Health System announced plans for a $4 million unit next to the South Side hospital's emergency department. Sinai is working with city and county law enforcement to keep mentally ill people out of jail.

In 2012, Chicago closed half its mental health clinics and the state closed three mental health centers, including a psychiatric hospital in suburban Chicago. Since then, the hospital's psychiatric ER visits have doubled.

Holy Cross opened a smaller unit last July. The expansion announced Tuesday more than doubles capacity.

Sinai plans to open an outpatient mental health clinic this summer and a 24-bed inpatient unit in the fall.