City’s network for no-barrier mental health care includes six Austin groups

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No-barrier mental health care services in Austin are available through six organizations partnering with the Chicago Department of Public Health in a major push to expand mental health services to all 77 of Chicago’s neighborhoods that was announced earlier this month.

Six organizations operating in Austin – Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center, BUILD Chicago, Community Counseling Centers of Chicago, Habilitative Systems Inc., Infant Welfare Society and PCC Community Wellness Center – are part of a citywide network known as Chicago’s Trauma-Informed Centers of Care (TICC).

These clinics and nonprofits offer Austin residents key services like therapy and trauma recovery, clinical care, behavioral health and substance use treatment. Some of these organizations offer crisis intervention services for families, support services for people dealing with substance use and mental health services for young people.

In a recent press release, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the city is expanding mental healthcare access for Chicago residents through partnerships with community-based organizations and clinics. Activists have long called for the city to improve access to healthcare services after the closure of 12 city-run clinics during Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration.

Participating community-based organizations receive city funding to provide no-barrier mental health care services to adults, children and families. City officials said they must provide services regardless of health insurance, immigration status or ability to pay.

With a long-standing presence serving Austin youth, BUILD Chicago provides clinical services for mental health treatment and trauma care, especially for youth impacted by violence. Through BUILD’s community violence support services, families who have lost their children to violence and young men have access to grief and loss groups, as well as healing spaces and crisis intervention services, according to their website.

In addition, children and young people have access to services such as individual or group therapy, substance abuse treatment, family services and peer support groups. Through their youth services, “84% of youth who reported emotional struggles said they improved their ability to manage their emotions,” according to the nonprofit.

City Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady mphasized the importance of having mental health care services provided by community-based organizations. “We need clinics, of course — but we also need to bring mental health services into the community to reach people who may never visit a stand-alone mental health site.”

PCC Community Wellness Center, a federally qualified health center with 14 locations on the city’s West Side and in the suburbs offers an array of health services outside mental health care, including primary health care, dental services, tele-health visits and wellness services like yoga classes.

Through its chemical dependency program, adults receive help to reduce their use of substances like alcohol, heroin, prescription pain pills and other substances, including prescription medication used for the treatment of opioid and alcohol dependence. PCC also provides substance abuse treatment for pregnant patients out of its West Suburban Medical Center located in Oak Park.

A directory of mental health clinics and community-based organizations is available on the city’s portal for mental health. Residents can call 311 or the NAMI helpline at (833) 626-4244 to receive information about options that best fit their needs.

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