Commissioner Dennis Deer, County Board Declare Mental Health a Public Health Crisis
CHICAGO, IL (Oct. 7, 2021) – The Cook County Board unanimously passed a resolution proposed by Commissioner Dennis Deer on Oct. 7 that declares mental health a public health crisis, noting the increase in the number of people who received mental and behavioral health services in the City of Chicago and Cook County.
According to data collected by the Chicago Department of Public Health, in 2018, roughly 54,000 people received behavioral health treatment while in 2020 there were over 68,000 people who received behavioral health treatment, accounting for an 26% increase in comparison to individuals who have received treatment in 2018.
The resolution also notes that Cook County Health’s Department of Psychiatry provided care for more than 8,700 patients in need of behavioral health services in 2019 and has cared for 8,695 patients during the first two quarters of 2021. According the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, there has been an average of 475 deaths per year by suicide since 2017. With roughly 329 deaths recorded for 2021, Cook County is currently on pace to reach the previous years’ average.
“I believe that Cook County Government was in need of addressing mental health issues in our communities,” Deer said. “In light of the pandemic, those issues have been exacerbated and we have seen an increase in suicide rates, and the need for mental health and behavioral services are in high demand.
For more information, contact David Evers at 312-285-8276.
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