FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2023
Cook County Celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month
Community partners and clients shared impact of Building Healthy Communities grants.
CHICAGO May 31, 2023– In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Health (CCH) CEO Israel Rocha, Cook County Commissioner John P. Daley, Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) COO Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck as well as representatives from community-based organizations (CBOs) and clients shared the impact of Cook County’s Building Healthy Communities (BHC) grants.
BHC grants were supported by Cook County government’s federal funding under the American Rescue Plan Act. Earlier this year, $16 million in BHC grants were distributed to local CBOs by CCH and CCDPH. The grants support CBOs’ mental health, positive youth development and food security programs throughout the City of Chicago and suburban Cook County.
In the first quarter of this grant program alone, more than 43,000 people have received food security support, nearly 1,500 people have benefited from mental health services, and more than 1,200 children and teens have been served in positive youth development programs.
“This initiative strengthens our commitment to promoting and building health equity across the County,” said President Preckwinkle. “It focuses on the significant and negative impact that inequities in youth services and access to mental health care have on the people and communities in suburban Cook County.”
“I congratulate and thank the community partners for their strong leadership,” said Commissioner Daley. “Every single one of us knows an individual, family member, neighbor or friend who has mental health, behavioral health, alcohol or drugs issues. You do an outstanding job. We look forward to helping you and your communities.”
Behavioral health services continue to be in high demand across Cook County. Since the onset of the pandemic, outpatient visits to Cook County Health behavioral health clinics have increased from more than 34,000 in 2019 to nearly 42,000 in 2022. CCH also opened a rapid access Bridge Clinic to provide walk-in substance use disorder treatment and Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT).
“Across our system, Cook County Health is working to make it a little easier for someone to say they need help and to access the resources they need,” said Rocha. “By collaborating and funding the hyperlocal work of community organizations, we will improve the health and well-being for the Cook County residents that we serve, today and for generations to come.”
“Mental health is an integral part of overall health, wellness, and wellbeing,” said Dr. Hasbrouck. “We are committed to building healthier communities with our partners so they can adapt, recover and thrive during life’s most challenging times.”
Chicago Lawndale AMACHI Mentoring Program (LAMP), received a BHC grant to support its mentoring, tutoring and enrichment programs for young people in the Austin neighborhood.
“We feel every youth needs a positive, culturally competent adult in their life in additional to their parents,” said Dr. Betty Green, LAMP Founder and Executive Director. “We feel that students that are involved and active in meaningful experiences will reduce their chances of having mental health problems.”
In response to the youth mental health crisis, BHC grantee Pillars Community Health collaborated with NAMI Metro Suburban to create The Loft at 8 Corners in Brookfield for teenagers. It offers group counseling, 1-on-1 peer support, and family support services free of charge.
“I have learned new ways to cope with my mental health, said Ulises Cardenas, II, a client at The Loft at 8 Corners. “My mind has been racing with so many thoughts and how can I come out of this process a better person. I have been able to be calm and expand my knowledge on how to cope with my mental health. I feel very lucky to have this place for myself and other teenagers.”
Media Contact: Shelia Pegues-Porter [email protected]