Dan Fulwiler, CEO
Ricardo Cifuentes, Director of External Affairs
7.16.14 | Esperanza Health Centers Announces Impacts of The Chicago Community Trust-Funded “Mental Health Integration” Project
Chicago, IL – Wednesday, July 16, 2014 – Esperanza Health Centers announced today that its Mental Health Integration and Expansion for the Underserved Project – which received a $65,000 grant from the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust in February – has significantly expanded access to affordable mental health services for Chicago’s southwest side through a new integrated model. Esperanza’s Behavioral Health Consultants have provided over 1,000 counseling sessions to patients so far in 2014, already exceeding last year’s total by 12%. Committed to serving those most in need, 88% of Esperanza’s mental health patients are uninsured or enrolled in Medicaid. The project’s integrated model allows medical providers to complete a “warm hand-off” that connects patients to a Behavioral Health Consultant when mental health issues are identified during a doctor’s visit.
The impact of the new integrated model is seen through stories from providers like Fran Bender, MSN, APN, WHNP. Recently, Fran provided women’s health services to a young 24 year-old mother with a son. “The son displayed signs of trauma during an appointment with one of our pediatricians and was referred to our mental health program. The mother later revealed her own experiences with trauma from her time as a foster child and it was evident that she was struggling to cope with her son’s experiences in light of her own. I immediately referred her to our mental health program and she met with our Behavioral Health Consultant an hour later. They continue to make progress as they receive services, and the mother says that Esperanza ‘has become a home’ for her.’”
Esperanza also provides programming targeting teens in our community. Jessica Boland, the Behavioral Health Consultant at Esperanza Little Village, recently led the pilot for the “Be Me, Be Healthy” program. A group for adolescent girls, Be Me, Be Healthy is a five-week program that focuses on self-esteem, relationships, and pregnancy prevention. “Be Me, Be Healthy wrapped up at the end of the school year in June. The results and feedback we have gathered from the girls will be used to enhance the program as we get ready for our next session. We look forward to working with community partners to recruit young girls for the program in the fall!”
Esperanza Health Centers is a Federally Qualified Health Center located in Chicago’s Little Village and Chicago Lawn neighborhoods that will serve 21,000 low-income individuals during 2014. Esperanza addresses the physical and mental healthcare needs of women, children, and men in underserved neighborhoods through a range of services including primary care, OB/GYN and Midwifery, allergy/immunology, mental health counseling, and health education. Esperanza’s programs emphasize prevention and education provided by bilingual, culturally diverse staff dedicated to overcoming barriers faced by underserved communities.
For 99 years, The Chicago Community Trust, our region’s community foundation, has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. In 2013, the Trust granted $161 million in grants to more than 1,000 nonprofits in our region. Working together, the Trust, its donors and its community partners leverage collective knowledge, creativity and resources for a greater impact than any of us can make alone.