New Mental Health Services at Sinai Health Services

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

Sinai Health System held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday that unveiled wide-ranging new behavioral health services to meet the needs of thousands of youth and adults who struggle to find adequate healthcare in Chicago. “Sixty percent of those diagnosed with a mental illness never receive treatment, a fact which is simply unacceptable,” said Sinai Health System President and CEO Karen Teitelbaum. “Behavioral health impacts our quality of life, our families and our communities just like any other health concern, and we must invest the resources necessary to ensure that everyone who needs treatment can access it.” Among the newly dedicated behavioral health facilities are a 24-bed inpatient treatment unit at Holy Cross Hospital that will provide short-term clinical care for adults, and an outpatient clinic for youth and adults, located at the nearby Catholic Charities St. Casimir Center. Sinai Health System’s $10 million investment in expanded behavioral health services includes plans to hire a total of 130 employees. That number includes psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, social workers, psychiatric nurse practitioners, registered nurses, mental health workers, telemedicine professionals and support staff.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

“More than ever we are seeing patients who are facing many complicated and interconnected issues that are impacting their mental wellbeing,” said Kathe Dellacecca, Vice President for Behavioral Health at Sinai Health System. “When you layer community violence or other social conditions on top of mental illness, it results in added psychological trauma for our patients.” The outpatient clinic offers individual, family and group therapy and will introduce an intensive outpatient program in January that will provide short-term stabilization and resolution for individuals suffering from a crisis or exacerbation of their psychiatric condition. This program includes four hours of treatment, five days a week, allowing patients to receive care and still maintain an independent lifestyle, to help them get back to living their lives as normally and productively as possible, as soon as possible. Once the intensive outpatient program is operating, the clinic will be able accommodate up to 500 patient visits per week. The inpatient unit at Holy Cross Hospital will offer intensive treatment to patients suffering from depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, psychosis, bipolar disorder and other psychological disorders, many of whom are seeing their conditions complicated by community violence, homelessness, and/or drug or alcohol abuse. The new unit is nearly completed, and will start accepting patients in early November.

In its 2016 community health needs assessment for the Holy Cross Hospital service area, Sinai found that three of the four zip codes served by the hospital have a mental health hospitalization rate that exceeds the U.S. average. And for the zip code that roughly corresponds to the West Englewood community, the mental health hospitalization rate is 434 per 100,000 people, more than double the Chicago rate of 185 per 100,000, and far exceeding the U.S rate of 79 per 100,000. “It is clear that not having needed psychiatric services has resulted in serious problems in the southwest side of Chicago, and decreased public transportation options make our gap even deeper,” said Betty Gutierrez, a 35-year community resident and business owner. “We need access to experts to treat people we care about and love.”

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