Building Relationships • Developing Leaders • Acting for Justice

Healthcare/Mental Health

Mental Health Campaign

June 18, 2015 Assembly on Mental Health

On June 18th, 2015 Lake County United held a Public Meeting to address the needs leaders identified regarding Mental Health in Lake County. This research resulted in three urgent needs:

  • Assist Lake County officers to receive Critical Incident Team Training (CIT)
  • Establish a Crisis Care Center
  • Increase affordable supportive housing

As a result the Chairman of the County Board, Aaron Lawlor and State’s Attorney, Michael Nerheim publicly committed to helping to identify creative financial resources for each issue presented. This was done in a room full of over 250 people.

How we got started…

In 2014 Leaders of Lake County United surveyed 1,759 residents from all corners of the county in partnership with the Lake County Health Department to assess how residents viewed the status of their health, as well as their access to health care options. The first and most striking finding was that 43.5% of Lake County residents reported being depressed or anxious. At the same time, 37.1% of those surveyed indicated that they had no access to mental health services.

These startling statistics motivated our leaders to research the state of health care and welfare in Lake County. Where this is most manifest and broken down is within the judicial system. We learned that this is a large issue in Lake County, something that people within the system were also beginning to look closer at. In collaboration with our affiliate organizations in the region, we invited Associate Judge Steven Leifman of Miami Dade, Florida who has been nationally recognized for reconstructing the criminal justice system to divert persons with mental illnesses away from jail and into community based treatment, to come and speak about his work.

Next, leaders went out into the community and performed over 100 individual meetings, 60 research meetings and 10 listening sessions with local residents, agencies, mobile shelters, hospitals, law enforcement officials, and the courts. As a result of this effort, leaders identified three urgent needs that Lake County United can address which are listed above.

Other victories:

  • Worked with the Lake County Health Department and others to create a Specialty Care Initiative to provide uninsured people with access to diagnostic tests and specialty care
  • Supported efforts by our sister organization United Power for Action and Justice to establish Illinois’ FamilyCare health insurance program which provides affordable health insurance to over 100,000 working poor families
  • Supported efforts by our sister organizations United Power for Action and Justice and PACT which enabled young adults in Illinois to remain on their parents health insurance plans up to their 26th birthday.

The Fall 2017 Mental Health Assembly provided further information on the status of LCU's efforts in this area.
Read the report.