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State mental health director scolds Cullerton

Wednesday, Jul 26, 2017

* An odd press release during a very odd time…

Illinois Director of Mental Health’s Statement on Leader Cullerton’s Comments

SPRINGFIELD – Director Diana Knaebe of the Illinois Division of Mental Health today issued the following statement after Leader Cullerton’s press conference:

“The Illinois Division of Mental Health works every day to reduce the stigma attached to mental illness. For a political leader to perpetuate this stigma to score political points is completely inappropriate and we respectfully request that our leaders stop doing so.”

The background is here in case you somehow missed it.

I get what she’s saying, but Cullerton didn’t say that the governor was mentally ill. He said he had concerns about the governor’s “mental state,” specifically citing Rauner’s anger. The governor himself once cited his own emotions as reason for vetoing a bill that’s directly related to this very topic.

…Adding… A different perspective in comments…

Cullerton was plainly trying to insult Rauner by deriding his “mental state.” That insult only works if having mental issues is something perceived as bad. That’s where Knabe is coming from, and that’s why Cullerton is in the wrong, full stop.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:05 pm:

    The Rauner administration is starting to seem like an episode of The Office. When’s the rabies run scheduled?

  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:08 pm:

    Dear Director Diana Knaebe,

    Gov. Rauner vetoed your agency’s funding.

    President Cullerton helped to override the veto so you will have a budget.

    Have a great day.

  3. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:14 pm:

    File under “this ain’t helping”

  4. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:15 pm:

    Is it possible that Rauner actually has a thinner skin than Trump?

  5. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:16 pm:

    So Proft or Samuelson maybe both told her to put out a press release ASAP. Only problem was neither Z or Goldberg was around to proof read it.

  6. - Yiddishcowboy - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:16 pm:

    What Rich said. Seems to me as though the Gov’s fee-fees might have been hurt given Cullerton’s comment about the Gov’s mental state.

  7. - Slash and Burn - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:20 pm:

    All of this causing just about everyone to worried about his mental state. It’s a legit comment.

  8. - HotPotato - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:26 pm:

    Oswego Willy: I’ll be sure to tell people who struggle with mental illness that it’s ok to joke about their condition as long as you came out on the prevailing side of a messy political battle in which both sides bear responsibility.

    To the others: look at these comments, then look at Susana Mendoza’s comments, then look at Karen Lewis’s commments. Using the stigma of mental instability to score political points is nothing new. If you think it’s ok just because you too are vehemently opposed to all things Rauner, you’re doing it wrong.

  9. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:32 pm:

    So now Rauner needs his Director to say he’s not mentally ill? Sounds kind of crazy if you ask me.

  10. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:33 pm:

    ===it’s ok to joke about their condition===

    It’s not. But that would suggest you feel the governor has some condition.

    Putting this into perspective, the last time we had a tiff like this was in 2008…

    ===Blagojevich last week called for a two-day special session of the Illinois General Assembly. Less than a day later, Madigan spokesman Steve Brown suggested Blagojevich is a “sociopath.”

    “The governor is not a sociopath,” retorted Blagojevich spokeswoman Katie Ridgeway.===

  11. - Perrid - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:34 pm:

    Anybody think she came up with this on her own? I doubt it. And I agree with Rich it seems pretty disingenuous, assuming she understood Cullerton’s comments

  12. - Moe Berg - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:37 pm:

    Rauner keeps making up things about what Cullerton told him and events he was going to attend and it’s somehow unreasonable to question the governor’s “mental state”? Being a pathological liar isn’t the same as being mentally ill (which means a condition that causes debilitation or impairment), but it is very much related to one’s mental state.

    Also, I’ll put Cullerton’s actions of helping those with mental illness over his career against Rauner’s inactions that have hurt them any day.

    Ms. Knaebe should be embarrassed to let Rauner’s new minor league press shop use her like that.

  13. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:38 pm:

    This is getting childish. Cullerton didn’t need to call Rauner out like he did, but this response is just as goofy.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:38 pm:

    - HotPotato -

    Keep up.

    ===I get what she’s saying, but Cullerton didn’t say that the governor was mentally ill. He said he had concerns about the governor’s “mental state,”===

    Also, while you believe you are in the right, and no one disputes your point, you need to come to grips with a reality that Rauner vetoed the funding for mental health in the Department, and it was due to Cullerton and the GA that Director Diana Knaebe even has a Department with a budget to work with those needing mental health help.

    You understand? You see the irony here?

    Its not lost on me.

    Your thoughts are noble, but you need to realize President Cullerton is more of an ally in Mental Health than Governor Rauner.

    Mental health funding through DHS?

    Rauner vetoed that.

  15. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:44 pm:

    Where was the hand wringing press release urging the Governor to get a budget passed while mental health providers were shutting down?

    Cry me a river you bunch of babies.

  16. - John Rawlss - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:45 pm:

    *said this

  17. - A State Employee Guy - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:47 pm:

    Rich, Cullerton was plainly trying to insult Rauner by deriding his “mental state.” That insult only works if having mental issues is something perceived as bad. That’s where Knabe is coming from, and that’s why Cullerton is in the wrong, full stop.

  18. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:48 pm:

    Where was Knaebe’s concern when Rauner took the mentally ill hostage.

  19. - Lincoln Lad - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:52 pm:

    The comments from the Director are correct in totality, but tedious in this context. Waste of time and the wrong forum, and the wrong time to go down this road. I hope she did it on her own, but I suspect the new group in the Gov’s Office probably told her to say something. Doesn’t suggest that the new messaging team is bringing much to the fight.

  20. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:52 pm:

    Can closing you did something “emotionally” in the past, like, oh let me use as an example… a veto… can doing something emotionally, is that doing something in a mental state?

    “I was emotional, I wasn’t myself”

    Is that putting into question someone’s state of doing something?

  21. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:58 pm:

    “Let’s say you did something…”

  22. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 6:59 pm:

    Is it kosher to say that it’s getting a little weird? Like with the “knowing” the contents of a private phone conversation?

    Is this release the first new messaging score for the new regime?

    –Rich, Cullerton was plainly trying to insult Rauner my deriding his “mental state.” That insult only works if having mental issues is something perceived as bad.–

    You can’t be in a “bad” mental state? What are the positives of road rage?

    For crying out loud, the governor is having a full-blown temper tantrum these days and he’s making up whoppers.

    You don’t need to be the state mental health director to see that. If you’ve had sleepy, hungry toddlers, it’s quite evident.

  23. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 7:07 pm:

    Wonder where the gov’s violence prevention people at CJIA are when a certain political leader talks about 2X4s to people heads or holding guns to people’s heads.

  24. - DeseDemDose - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 7:15 pm:

    Horseman, you got that right. Thank You

  25. - Blah blah blah - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 7:16 pm:

    The level of outrage feigned by this governor and his administration today is quite something. I’m not holding my breath expecting this level of political correctness and sensitivity to the plight of others to continue.

  26. - Ok - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 7:18 pm:

    So, now the news is going to be all about the controversy around the Governor’s mental state?

  27. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 7:20 pm:

    DeseDemDose, Horseman I’m not. Thrown off two horses when I was a kid. I wouldn’t be caught dead on a horse. Thanks for the compliment.

  28. - walker - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 7:21 pm:

    Lincoln Lad 6:52

    Well said

  29. - Bee - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 7:21 pm:

    Cullerton used an insensitive label, he was scolded. Time to go on.

    LOL. Half the posts here turn the tables onto Rauner. All is fault. Everything his fault.

  30. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 7:28 pm:

    ===Half the posts here turn the tables onto Rauner===

    Nah. For me…

    The irony that a director of a state agency is concerned, whose agency’s funding to help the mentally ill was vetoed by Rauner, and Cullerton and the GA override the veto to fund her agency.

    Had the GA (Cullerton and 11+ Republicans included) not override that Rauner veto… that director’s words are hollow and ironic to the worry of helping the mentally ill.

    It’s not on Rauner, o just see this as ironically silly… in this specific instance.

  31. - WSJ Paywall - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 7:36 pm:

    Right message, wrong messenger

  32. - Trump - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 7:39 pm:

    Add this to your list of comparisons with Trump. Just the other day a senator called Trump crazy. Now you have a senator calling Rauner crazy.

  33. - Anon1234 - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 7:46 pm:

    It is insulting to people with mental illnesses to be compared to Governor Rauner.

  34. - Whatever - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 8:02 pm:

    A State Employee Guy ==Rich, Cullerton was plainly trying to insult Rauner by deriding his “mental state.” That insult only works if having mental issues is something perceived as bad.–

    It’s only an insult if you misread a mention of the governor’s “mental state” as deriding him for having “bad” mental issues. You apparently read Cullerton’s statement as a negative value judgment rather than an objective appraisal of the situation, and conclude that it’s an insult. Cullerton did not say Rauner was mentally ill, or even imply that there was something abnormal or reprehensible about his current “mental condition.” He just said that Rauner is not in a good state of mind right now to be dealing with the bill. Maybe he’s just rephrasing Ephesians 4:26.

  35. - justacitizen - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 8:24 pm:

    The parallels on the national and state scene are similar for Dem’s resistance vs the GOP. All is fair in politics I guess, but I’m really disappointed that no one (either party) listens and accepts/respects the other party’s position. I guess negotiating is a thing of the past.

  36. - Michael Westen - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 8:35 pm:

    “if having mental issues” means you do something bad (hurtful to others) then it is bad. Full stop. Rauner’s “mental state” has caused bad things to happen. No need to apologize for saying that.

  37. - Mama - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 8:42 pm:

    Rauner is beginning to act more and more like Trump. The question is why???

  38. - Rosey - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 8:55 pm:

    Uuuummmm, the way Rauner keeps lying about what Cullerton and others told him, it seems reasonable to conclude that something is wrong with his mental state.

  39. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 9:20 pm:

    To the Rauner IPIes- Slow down buds… It’s only Wednesday. Save something for Friday at Five. /s

  40. - Rabid - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 9:38 pm:

    Doctor Rauner said her husband would drive them nuts, that’s insensitive

  41. - GOP Extremist - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 10:00 pm:

    Seems a little Snowflakey.

  42. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 10:09 pm:

    so we shouldn’t worry about someone’s mental state?

  43. - ILooked - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 10:24 pm:

    Not quoting Rauner verbatim but even he has stated in the past that it is just politics and everybody should be able to handle the comments made toward them. Why should this be any different? As someone asked earlier ‘Is Rauner getting thin skin (or thinner skin) ?

  44. - Perrid - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 10:30 pm:

    I don’t know about the addition. Saying that someone with mental issues shouldn’t be making decisions affecting millions of kids is not an insult, it’s a fact. And I’m not even sure Cullerton meant crazy so much as angry and petty, you know, his mood.

  45. - My New Handle - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 10:41 pm:

    Cullerton was engaging in radical candor. No snark.

  46. - Da big bad wolf - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 6:12 am:

    Everybody who has a mind has a mental state. All the time. So how does Knaebe assume “mental state” means mentall illness? A Freudian slip?

  47. - A guy - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 6:40 am:

    I had suggested before that John Cullerton may have early regrets using this terminology. I’m sticking to that. He’s a decent man who may have succumbed to some frustration and used an inappropriate phrase.

    I’m very sure he wasn’t slighting people who have mental illness or deficiencies. That’s just not how he is. But, this person is right. It’s not funny, and it’s not in bounds.

    Everyone is a little bit too tight right now and the dialogue is suffering. The advice of a “full stop” is one worth heeding.

  48. - Annonin' - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 7:38 am:

    Ok in less than a week we have consultant dedenin he is paranoid and a state worker sayin’ he ain’t. a little wacky? Perhaps we need a report on winery time.
    Meanwhile lets start a review of the state worker credentials

  49. - Generic Drone - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 7:54 am:

    Mental health services and other social services have been crushed the past 2 years and THIS is what upsets her?

  50. - Juvenal - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:04 am:

    The Director of the Division of Mental Health ought to have better things to do than flak for the governor.

    I guess since the gov’s new comms team is so hapless, it is all hands on deck?

  51. - Commonsense in Illinois - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:05 am:

    I forgot to add…I’ll be selling hotdogs in the hallway outside Director Knaebe’s next Executive Appointments hearing.

    Should be very entertaining.

  52. - PDJT - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:05 am:

    New code name for the governor:
    “Angry Bird is on the move . . . repeat, Angry Bird is on the move”.

  53. - Give Me A Break - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:14 am:

    “I forgot to add…I’ll be selling hotdogs in the hallway outside Director Knaebe’s next Executive Appointments hearing.”

    DHS Division Directors do not require senate confirmation.

  54. - Rabid - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:18 am:

    Diana said their administration is full speed ahead nut job

  55. - PDJT - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:23 am:

    “so we shouldn’t worry about someone’s mental state?”

    Director Knaebe isn’t saying we shouldn’t worry about it, she’s saying we shouldn’t talk about it.

    You know, we should keep it quiet, in the closet, so to speak.

    Old uncle Bruce that nobody talks about.

  56. - State worker - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:26 am:

    Mental states exist for everyone. We all go through periods of better and worse mental health. And all people are advised to be careful in states of stress and anger.

    People in the mental health community most certainly talk about mental states. Mental health clients learn to read their mental health status precisely so they can be careful with their actions and decisions in adverse mental states.

  57. - A Jack - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:31 am:

    Ms Knaebe is an administrator with a Master of Social Work and no medical degree listed on her resume. I am doubtful regarding her qualifications to speak on this issue. Of course maybe if she stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night….

  58. - First Hand - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:33 am:

    Words matter. The words “mental state” suggest a state of mind, NOT mental illness. Cullerton has a firm record of supporting social services that address mental illness. This is being blown out of proportion. And saying Full. Stop. at the end of something doesn’t make it more serious or credible, just trite.

  59. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:44 am:

    The phony handwringing here is hilarious.

    Quite a slick move by the new regime to get a mental health director to step up for the governor. Raises a question on mental illness that Cullerton absolutely did not.

    If Cullerton is out of line with a “mental state” line, what about these two jokers below, laughing about “driving people nuts?”

    Is that perpetuating a stigma? Guy, do they perhaps already regret it? I doubt it.

  60. - PublicServant - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:46 am:

    Touche Word…Full stop.

  61. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:52 am:

    Looks like the new crew will have to fire those two and find someone who better delivers the message. #purity

  62. - Give Me A Break - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:55 am:

    Kanbe may not be a MD, but has years of work running mental health centers.

  63. - Arsenal - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:57 am:

    Cullerton’s initial comment wasn’t perfect because it got into motives, rather than actions (which isn’t atypical for politics, but it usually irks me). But the response is so over-the-top that it ends up proving his point.

    Really, so far, all of the Best Team In America (c)’s responses to incoming fire have been pretty lame.

  64. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 8:58 am:

    The good Doctor should do a case study on someone who consistently fibs on facts, changes his mind, uses is money to not only fund the Illinois Republican Party, but the dictates how they vote.

    Hmmmm, Maybe the good doctor needs to be replaced with some one who can draw linkages with behaviors.

  65. - Joe Bidenopolous - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 9:02 am:

    Three takeaways here:

    Rauner is clearly a weak, petulant little snowflake. He sure can dish it out but when someone important calls him out on his anger and lies, he sends a division director out to defend him. Weak.

    The division director herself is the worst possible messenger. If she cared about the issues, she wouldn’t have been silent during the destruction of mental health services. A credible messenger would’ve been someone from NAMI but no one there would ever defend this guy.

    Mental state does not equal mental illness. The governor does have a mental state - so do you - and thus far his mental state includes repeated lies, unnecessary and false attacks, and extreme anger, just as Cullerton pointed out

  66. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 9:08 am:

    “Happy” is a mental state. So is “sad” and “angry” and “flustered” and “vengeful.”

    None of them suggest mental illness, in any way.

    Making up preposterous stories about knowing the particulars of a private phone conversation? That’s a mental state of “comfort” with lying.

  67. - Illinoisian - Thursday, Jul 27, 17 @ 9:31 am:

    LOL. Grabbing a *DIVISION* Director and saying, “here, read this” is the definition of bad politics. Rauner muzzles his own *AGENCY* Directors unless they are needed for something that works for him.

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