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Belt supports new IDHS mental health programs

Published: Wednesday, August 05, 2020 09:59 AM

belt 030520EAST ST. LOUIS – State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) applauds the Illinois Department of Human Services for creating three new mental health programs for Illinoisans in need of help during a challenging time. 

“The COVID-19 virus has not only hurt people’s physical health — it has also diminished the mental health of many,” Belt said. “Providing residents with mental health resources will support them during the overwhelming stress of the pandemic.” 

The Illinois Department of Human Services announced the new mental health programs Monday to provide additional support for Illinoisans. The agency worked with community mental health centers and non-traditional service providers to develop capacity and to deliver clinical services and non-traditional supports. 

The first new program — pegged as 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 who have mental illnesses and who are in need of an immediate place to stay while they work to find permanent housing. 

Additionally, the Transitional Community Care and Support Programs are for people who are currently in IDHS State Operated Psychiatric Hospitals and 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 seek help directly or be referred by first responders or medical professionals. Participants of the other two programs will be referred by IDHS and other providers.

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

Villivalam asks those who are able to join COVID-19 contact tracing initiative

Published: Tuesday, August 04, 2020 03:37 PM

contact tracing 080420CHICAGO – In light of the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases around the country, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is asking anyone who is able to consider applying to become a contact tracer for the Chicago or Cook County Health Department.  

“Illinoisans have been and need to continue to do a decent job of limiting the spread of the virus by wearing a mask, socially distancing, and washing their hands for 20 seconds,” Villivalam said. “However, while we are doing relatively well compared to other states in the country, we can’t afford to relax our efforts. If you are able, please consider becoming a contact tracer to help us stop any new major outbreaks in our communities.” 

The Chicago Department of Public Health has received a $56 million grant to create the COVID Contact Tracing Corp and COVID Resource Coordination Hub, while the Cook County Department of Public Health has received almost $41 million in COVID-19 relief funding from the Illinois Department of Public Health via the FEMA Disaster Relief Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. 

Contact tracing is the multi-step process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have come into contact with a positive case of COVID-19 and connecting them to resources to help them during quarantine. The CDPH is looking to expand and diversify its workforce up to 600 people and the CCDPH is looking to expand its workforce to 400 people. Bilingual and multilingual speakers are needed to help with outreach to all of Chicago’s diverse communities. Contact tracers in Chicago will earn $20 per hour, with supervisors able to earn $24 per hour. 

Individuals interested in applying to become a contact tracer can find the IDPH Contact Tracing Program interest form on IDPH’s website. More general information is available on the City of Chicago’s website and the CCDPH website

Glowiak Hilton: New mental health programs available

Published: Tuesday, August 04, 2020 03:21 PM

counseling 080420WESTERN SPRINGS – State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) urged those who are struggling with mental health issues to see if they qualify for help through three new Illinois Department of Human Services’ designed to provide housing, crisis support and community care resources.

“We're all laboring under heavy mental and emotional burdens right now, so we can't forget how much harder of a struggle this is for our friends and neighbors who are managing mental health issues,” Glowiak Hilton said. “Those in need should reach out to local service providers to see what options are available to them.”

IDHS’ new programs include the Living Room Program, Transitional Living Centers Program and the Transitional Community Care and Support Program. All three coordinate with community-based mental health centers and non-traditional service providers to increase access to the services they offer, as well as to develop their clinical services.

The Living Room Program is designed to break the cycle of psychiatric hospitalization by providing a safe, home-like environment for people to go to process mental health crises. Peer run crisis services are used to provide a less traumatic and more empowering alternative for people experiencing a mental health crisis.

The Transitional Living Centers Program provides immediate housing to people living with mental illness while they work to find permanent housing. Priority is given to those being discharged from psychiatric hospitals who are at risk for homelessness.

The Transitional Community Care and Support Program assists uninsured or underinsured patients transitioning out of psychiatric care. The program includes 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.

For more information and a full list of IDHS’ mental health programs, visit their website.

Manar urges area farm families to participate in SIU Medicine’s Farm Family Resource Initiative survey

Published: Tuesday, August 04, 2020 01:21 PM

farm family 080420SPRINGFIELD - Farmers and their families have the opportunity to complete a survey aimed to improve a wide range of services that will be available to them from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine’s Farm Family Resource Initiative program in the coming months.

Manar, who chairs the Illinois Senate Appropriations II Committee, worked closely with fellow Downstate Democrats to include funding in this year’s state budget to address many of today’s challenges facing Illinois farmers.

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