Thanks to a partnership between UI Health Mile Square Health Center Englewood and Metropolitan Family Services, families and children in Greater Englewood will now have, along with their primary care visits, a mental health screening session and follow-up counseling and support services, through a new, first of its kind, Child & Family Wellness Program at Mile Square’s Englewood Clinic.
“This integrated model of care will eliminate the need for families to schedule appointments with mental health specialists at other locations. They can get treated right here in their own neighborhood,” said Henry Taylor, executive director of Mile Square Health Center.
The new program brings together primary care staff from Mile Square Health Center and psychiatrists, social workers and psychologists from Metropolitan Family Services at the Mile Square Health Center in Englewood.
A human services agency focusing on education, economic stability, emotional wellness and empowerment, Metropolitan Family Services, operates seven major community centers serving approximately 63,000 individuals in Chicago and throughout Cook and DuPage counties while, in addition to the Englewood location, the Mile Square Health Center network includes 11 other federally qualified health centers in the South Shore, Back of the Yards, and Cicero areas, as well as four school-based health centers associated with the (University of Illinois at Chicago) UIC School of Public Health and three UIC College of Nursing clinics.
A $2 million, five-year grant from the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation to Metropolitan Family Services (ILCHF), funds the new program and is part of ILCHF’s Healthy Minds, Healthy Children, Healthy Chicago (H3) initiative as a way to bring blended primary and mental health services to children and their families.
“Our mission is that every child grows up healthy and (that means) mental health and physical health are one,” said Heather Higgins Alderman, president, Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation. “We chose Mile Square Englewood and the Metropolitan Family Services because Mile Square is a health care provider already established in the Englewood neighborhood and the Metropolitan Family Services had already been doing work in the Englewood community.”
The Children’s Health Care Foundation's mission is to address the whole child and stresses that the healthcare system in Illinois must be responsive to the needs of all children. Working through grantee partners across the state, the Foundation focuses its grant making on identifying and funding solutions to the barriers that prevent children from accessing the ongoing health care they need, according to information on its website.
The Foundation also focuses on children’s dental health towards its focus on the whole child.
A 10 a.m., May 22 panel discussion on mental health in Chicago’s high risk neighborhoods will feature community, social service and mental health experts. An open house and tour of the facility will follow at the Mile Square Health Center Englewood, 641 W. 63rd St.
Speakers include Dr. Bechara Choucair, commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health; Henry Taylor, executive director, Mile Square Health Center; Heather Higgins Alderman, president, Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation; Ricardo Estrada, president and CEO, Metropolitan Family Services; Dr. LaMorris Perry, pediatrician, Mile Square Health Center; and Dr. Bennett Leventhal, Irving B. Harris professor of child and adolescent psychiatry emeritus, University of Chicago.