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Mental Health

Barriers to access for mental health care are real and problematic across the city of Chicago. There are tremendous gaps in financial resources that contribute to these barriers as well as stigmas and legitimate mistrust of care providers. Under insured, uninsured, and high premiums compared to income, create gaps. Limited options and notions of undeservingness contribute to barriers to access. We live in a ward that is connected to one of the most prestigious institutions for health care in the world, and yet many of our neighbors continue to be on the outside and left out of having the best mental health outcomes, just blocks away. When care providers are not reflective of the community they serve, when treatment is inferiorizing, when costs are prohibitive, and when health care action and education is not provided, we see mistrust and lack of service delivery to residents. That mistrust prevents people and communities from accessing needed support. The abundance of care and its provision exists. People who have access are benefitting from mental health support, while many who struggle to connect with providers are suffering under the strain of lack and oppressive experiences.


We can examine the statistics of crime in our area to get a glimpse at how people are faring with their mental health and the desperation of their struggle. By no means does lack of mental health care cause or create crime, but where there is crime, you will find mental health resources either depleted or unsupported on multiple levels. Examples of 3 problems that currently exist and possible solutions are below. This will give you a road map of how Shelly will look at and address tackling these issues.

THE PROBLEM: Where Does This Start?

THE SOLUTION: Build collaborative models within the ward to connect people to more care options

  • create a network of connecting people to mental health centers within the ward

  • incorporate drop in facilities in existing orgs that incorporate the sanctuary and living room model to provide safe space and support in times of crisis and uncertainty.

  • support current centers in their city funding and expansion so that more people are given access to care.


THE PROBLEM: How Do We Help Someone in Crisis?

THE SOLUTION: Dispel misunderstanding

  • create and expand mental health 1st aid workshops in churches and community programs (such as the YMCA, Park District, Community Gardens, etc)

  • encourage the presence of reliable mobile street clinics that provide preventative care on specific days of the week that residents can rely on and share information about.

  • provide a ward wide ad campaign to give people alternatives to how they can help: Call 311, call/text a specific center and provide info to make mental health support more easily accessible and known.



THE SOLUTION: Provide communal hope

  • provide health check-ins

  • foodboxes that give people immediate food resources

  • stay supportive of raising the minimum wage

  • create community get togethers

  • link those who need flexible and part time work to places that need flexible and part time workers

  • encourage efforts that instill a sense of belonging and value to residents who have felt like they are on the margins


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