Increasing Mental Health Services on Chicago’s West Side

West Side United and partners are excited to announce the expansion of access to mental health services through co-location grants for local social service organizations. Not only will this initiative foster growth for community healthcare services, but it will also assist in the fight to reduce stigmatization around mental health services, which is common in communities of color.

This initiative was cited as one of the top priorities by community members during West Side United listening sessions. An in-depth RFP process to select grant recipients was initiated that included community partners as decision makers. Ultimately, three Chicago-based organizations were selected: Esperanza Health Centers, Access Community Health Network, and CommunityHealth. The grants will help each organization to properly implement and expand its mental health programming capabilities.

“It is imperative for West Side United to build the capacity of community organizations that aim to improve access to comprehensive, coordinated care for underserved West Side residents. Our grantees expand the pool of co-located and integrated healthcare resources that will increase access to mental and behavioral health services in schools and community settings in six of our 10 West Side United communities,” said Ayesha Jaco, Senior Program Director, West Side United. “We are so proud to know that more access will be provided in the neighborhoods where our community members live and work.”

Grant funding will aid programming efforts in West Side United’s key West Side neighborhoods: Austin, East Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Lower West Side, Near West Side, West Town, North Lawndale, South Lawndale, West Garfield Park, and Belmont Cragin.

  • Esperanza Health Centers will receive a $25,000 grant to help the organization offer counseling to 12-15 students one day a week at Hammond Elementary in South Lawndale, while offering referrals to family members for primary care.
  • AccessCommunity Health Network will receive a $40,000 grant to expand its collaborative, multi-sector pilot program to 40 people with uncontrolled behavioral health issues from the West Side (Austin, Humboldt Park, and North Lawndale). Patients will also be connected to housing and employment opportunities through an ongoing partnership with Catholic Charities.
  • CommunityHealth will receive a $60,000 grant to expand its current behavioral services to serve 50 patients for psychiatry services and 115 patients for counseling appointments. Operating with a counselor, psychiatrist, and social worker, CommunityHealth will provide crisis management and counseling services to Belmont Cragin and Near West Side residents. If additional need remains, CommunityHealth plans to re-engage a psychiatry volunteer group from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and it will also explore the possibility of developing a tele-psychiatry program.

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