Public community-based mental health services are now in every corner of the city, serving Chicagoans regardless of health insurance, immigration status, or ability to pay
CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today that the City of Chicago has successfully expanded access to publicly funded mental health services for residents in all 77 neighborhoods throughout the city. The City has continued to grow this network throughout the pandemic and is now funding no-barrier access to mental health services at a total of 177 clinics and clinical programs across all 77 Chicago community areas — along with primary and behavioral health care at 80 shelters for people experiencing homelessness.
Collectively known as Chicago’s Trauma-Informed Centers of Care (TICC) network, the mental health providers in the network all receive city funding to complement their federal, state, county, and philanthropic funding — and all must provide no-barrier mental health services. Partners include Community Mental Health Centers, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and Community-Based Organizations, along with CDPH’s five directly-operated mental health clinics and new planned extension clinics in partnership with the Chicago Public Library and O’Hare Airport.
“When I took office, the City was delivering mental health services to 3,600 adults per year and zero children in only 11 of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “Now, we are delivering these critical services to tens of thousands of adults and children across each of our communities. This tremendous accomplishment was made possible by CDPH and the many community partners, who share my goal of creating a truly accessible mental healthcare system that serves all of our residents right in their own neighborhoods.”
The Trauma-Informed Centers of Care network provides a range of high-quality mental health services to adults, children, and families regardless of health insurance, immigration status, or ability to pay. In addition to growing the TICC network, CDPH has doubled the size of its own mental health staff from approximately 50 in 2019 to 100 staff today.
“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,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “With twice as many positions on the CDPH mental health team, we are now embedding mental health crisis clinicians in the 911 system through the CARE program; reaching people experiencing homelessness by funding care in shelters and outreach on the CTA; and building home-based mental health care for the highest-need Chicagoans. At the same time, we invested in the development and coordination of the TICC network. Now that we have high-quality services in every one of our 77 neighborhoods, we can more seamlessly and quickly connect Chicagoans to mental health care, regardless of their circumstances or their address. We’re not done yet, but together with our partners, we are building the mental health system that Chicago has long needed.”
Since 2019, Mayor Lightfoot and the City Council have increased the budget for mental health services more than seven-fold, from $12M in 2019 to $89M in 2023. As a result, more than 73,000 Chicagoans received City-funded mental health services in 2022, compared to 3,651 people in 2019. Where zero children were served in 2019, the TICC community network provided vital support and services to 13,666 children in 2022. Each TICC provider uses City funding to either establish new or augment existing mental health services.
“We are proud to be a part of this partnership that helps us further our own mission of fostering health, wellness, and healing through a holistic and comprehensive system of community-based behavioral health for all Chicagoans,” said Dr. Rami Nashashibi, Executive Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN). “With investments from CDPH, we have been able to hire staff and add programs to increase much-needed access to care for residents right here in Chicago Lawn, West Englewood, and across the South Side.”
As part of the expansion into all 77 Chicago communities, CDPH is building on its partnership with Chicago Public Libraries and establishing CDPH extension clinics at select Chicago Public Library locations — embedding CDPH mental health clinicians to allow residents to receive mental health counseling services at their local library. CDPH is also planning an extension clinic at O’Hare Airport.
To get connected to mental health services, please visit mentalhealth.chicago.gov, call 211, or call the CDPH Mental Health Clinic Intake Line at 312-747-1020.