MAYOR EMANUEL EXPANDS MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES FOR VULNERABLE RESIDENTS
New investments will provide targeted services for targeted populations including ex-offenders, the uninsured, and those ineligible for the Affordable Care Act
Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced a $750,000 investment to increase mental health services for the City’s most vulnerable residents in partnership with community-based organizations. These new services would reach returning citizens from incarceration at Cook County Jail, the uninsured, and those ineligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act. This investment is on top of other current investments made by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) intended to strengthen the overall mental health infrastructure with a focus on the uninsured, child victims of assault, the homeless and other vulnerable populations.
“The City of Chicago is dedicated to ensuring access to quality mental health services for all residents,” said Mayor Emanuel. “By partnering with these community organizations, we can ensure that those most in need of services are getting the care they need most.”
The $750,000 funding was made available through Mayor Emanuel’s 2015 budget, as approved by City Council, to address the community’s request for additional resources to serve these vulnerable populations. CDPH conducted a competitive selection process to select community organizations to partner with it to deliver the following services:
- Returning Residents. Thresholds received $250,000 to launch a new initiative in collaboration with the Cook County Sherriff’s Office where Chicago residents released from Cook County Jail and in need of ongoing mental health services will be linked to a provider upon exiting for ongoing treatment and support services.
- Uninsured Residents. Five agencies received a total of $250,000 to provide psychiatry services to uninsured residents. These follow annual investments started in 2012 to increase access for uninsured residents and resulting in more than 12,000 additional visits for residents. The agencies receiving funding this year include Trilogy, Community Counseling Center of Chicago (C4), Human Resources Development Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital and Pilsen Little Village Community Mental Health Center.
- Residents Ineligible for Affordable Care Act Coverage. Awards will be invested to engage those hard-to-reach populations who often go without mental health services. Thresholds has been awarded the first $125,000 to provide outreach to homeless populations, while the remaining $125,000 award will be allocated in the next couple of weeks to serve populations ineligible for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act expansion, including undocumented residents.
“Many people struggling with mental illnesses are cycling in and out of the criminal justice system, homelessness, and hospitalization,” says Mark Ishaug, CEO of Thresholds. “By reaching out to people where they are, we can break this cycle and connect individuals to the treatment they need to stay out of jail and off the streets.”
In addition to these awards, additional investments to provide mental health services to Chicago’s vulnerable population include the following:
- This year, the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center expanded a program to provide counseling services to child survivors of sexual assault and their family members.
- The Crisis Response and Recovery program will immediately connect survivors of violence, including families and children, to assistance such as mental health services to minimize trauma and reduce further acts of violence. The program is funded for $2 million over a two-year period by the U.S. Department of Justice to support homicide survivors.
- New Restorative Practice programs will use a $371,000 investment to focus on the social and emotional development of 1,700 elementary school youth and parents and teachers in the community by teaching valuable skills in building and repairing relationships.
- Human Resources Development Instituted (HRDI) has been funded $100,000 to provide crisis response services to 180 residents experiencing mental health issues and interfacing with the members of the Chicago Police Department (CPD). HRDI is currently working with CPD on staff training and logistics.
The City of Chicago remains committed to improving the mental health of the City. Over the last three years, CDPH has helped secure $14.2 million in new investments to increase treatment options in Chicago communities. Chicago Department of Public Health will continue to provide direct services to uninsured residents and partner with other providers to strengthen the mental health infrastructure in every community. The City’s ongoing reforms continue to improve access to mental health services in every community, especially among those most in need.