Free mental health help available

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State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford wants to ensure there is free mental health support available to families in Chicago experiencing a high level of violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Free screening and linkage to care is available at the Westside Community Triage and Wellness Center (WCTWC) at 4133 W. Madison. Walk-ins are welcome, or residents can call the 24-hour crisis line at (773) 745-2610.

“If people are feeling sad, depressed or hurt I urge them to take advantage of the free mental health support,” Ford said in a statement.

“Exposure to violence, especially gun violence, can cause serious psychological, emotional and behavioral problems,” the lawmaker said.

“Children and adults are affected by traumatic events in unique ways that can impair their ability to function, including sleep disturbance, poor appetite, anxiety, difficulty with concentration, and expressing emotions in appropriate and healthy ways.”

Dr. Rashad K. Saafir, president/CEO of Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center, said it’s crucial to provide early detection of symptoms related to trauma to prevent the development of chronic traumatic syndromes, like PTSD.

“The old saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’ clearly applies in preventing the spread of trauma within our communities,” Dr. Saafir said.

“The West Side Behavioral Health Taskforce, under the guidance of state Rep. La Shawn Ford, will organize the resources to address this critical issue affecting our communities. We will utilize the resources of behavioral health providers to ensure that assessment and treatment services are available to every neighborhood on the West Side.” 

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