Mental Health Initiatives Address Community Needs

Mental Health Initiatives Address Community Needs

The horrifying Highland Park parade shooting has turned a spotlight on the importance of mental health awareness and support. These services have been the subject of community policy initiatives for several years, and local providers – including Chamber members – mobilized in the wake of the shooting to help those grappling with its impact.

Below are examples of mental health services that have taken on extra significance since July 4:

Local Agency Funding Support

Beginning during the pandemic, the Village of Northbrook placed special emphasis on mental health services with allocations to community partner agencies, including Josselyn, CATCH, Family Service Center, and Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook. In July, the Village approved continued support for these agencies, with allocations ranging from $2500 to over $142,000.  According to submissions from the agencies, the funding will go toward expanding existing programs, subsidizing services to individuals in financial need, adding staff to increase services, and providing mental health toolkits to incoming high school freshmen.

Program Implementation

In recent weeks, agencies have stepped up to provide mental health support to Highland Park victims as well as the broader communities touched by the July 4 shooting.  CATCH, a non-profit that connects families to mental health resources and peer support, hosted online chats for people to discuss their post-trauma feelings and published links to useful videos and other services. Family Service Center offered single-session crisis counseling and published a variety of resource materials for parents and others coping with trauma. Josselyn will hold free mental health first aid training sessions in August, teaching participants how to respond and help when someone is in a crisis.

New National Suicide/Crisis Helpline

The new 988 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline launched in July, providing quick access to emergency mental health services. Any individual suffering from emotional distress or a mental health crisis can call, text, or chat the number 988 and be immediately connected to a trained mental health professional at a nearby crisis center.

Information about the new Lifeline was widely shared in Village communications, social media, and other public outlets.  Village President Kathryn Ciesla included it in her report at the July 26 Board meeting, saying ““This is a shorter phone number that makes it easier for people to get in touch with mental health counselors. If you have an issue 24/7, it’s okay not to be okay. 988 is the number to call.”

Click here for a list of Chamber members providing counseling and mental health services.