joyce 031020PARK FOREST — With pandemic-related stress weighing heavily on many Illinoisans, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Park Forest) is encouraging residents to explore to the Illinois Department of Human Services’ new mental health programs.

“The additional stressors people are facing caused by the pandemic can be difficult to navigate with the uncertainty around us,” Joyce said. “Pandemic or not, we need to focus on people’s mental health, and these new programs will ensure there are resources available for those in need.”

IDHS introduced three new programs Monday to help Illinoisans struggling with mental health, developed in coordination with community mental health centers and nontraditional service providers across the state.

The first new program, the Living Room Program, is designed specifically for those in need of a crisis respite program to divert crises and break the cycle of psychiatric hospitalization. It provides a safe, inviting, home-like atmosphere where people can calmly process a crisis event while learning how to avoid a future crisis.

The Transitional Living Centers Program is a housing resource for people with mental illnesses who are in need of a place to stay while they work to find permanent housing.

Additionally, the Transitional Community Care and Support Programs offer assistance to current patients of state-operated psychiatric hospitals who are preparing to be discharged. It will include funding for non-traditional supports, such as cell phones, food, clothing, transportation and other resources that are necessary for individuals to succeed as they transition back into communities.

Individuals seeking help from the Living Room Program may be referred by first responders or medical professionals. Participants of the other two programs will be referred by IDHS and other providers. Anyone who thinks they may benefit from these programs should talk to their mental health provider.

For more information and to find additional mental health resources, click here.