News Release: Lake County Leaders Announce Initiative to Address Mental Health Crisis

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Lake County Banner / Standard

August 11, 2016

Lake County Leaders Announce Initiative to 
Address Mental Health Crisis

Lake County, along with our nation and local communities, is facing a mental health crisis that affects the individual, families, friends, neighbors, veterans, employers, schools, hospitals, the criminal justice system, and more.

To address this growing problem and strengthen mental health services across the county, Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor and the Honorable Susan Garrett (former IL State Senator, 29th District) will lead a new community-wide initiative focusing on data-sharing and evidence-based practices to identify gaps and recommend a sustainable continuum of care for this vulnerable population.

Lawlor said, “Lake County and our country are facing a growing and pervasive mental health crisis. These individuals are too often ending up in emergency rooms, in jail, or homeless on our streets, and none of these are good options. We believe that through this collaborative effort, community partners can work together, leverage resources, and maximize our impact.”

The Lake County Mental Health Coalition will convene in 2016 and include a diverse group of stakeholders representing hospitals, the health department, supportive housing, veterans, homeless assistance, law enforcement and others. Lawlor and Garrett will serve as co-chairs and they are currently working to identify and recruit stakeholders to actively participate. 

“There are many strong programs and providers in Lake County that are currently serving this population, but there are tremendous opportunities to enhance services and treat mental illness before it results in tragic situations, including unemployment, homelessness, poverty, and suicide,” Garrett said. 

The identified outcomes of the Lake County Mental Health Coalition include: 

  • Identify and collect data on local mental health, including current services/programs, demand/need for services, and identify what additional information is needed
  • Research best practices and evaluate them for their applicability in Lake County
  • Develop a framework and systems to share data
  • Use data to identify needs and gaps in service and then prioritize that list
  • Recommend the best methods of building capacity, addressing gaps, and enhancing services

 National and local mental health related statistics:

  • One in five adults in the U.S. experience a mental illness every year (Behavioral Health Trends in the U.S. National Survey).
  • Serious mental illness costs the U.S. $193 billion in lost earnings every year.
  • Almost 60% of adults with a mental illness didn’t receive mental health services in the previous year (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).
  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that, across the country, 18 veterans die each day from suicide.
  • 4.6 million adult hospital visits for acute mental illness occurred in the U.S. in 2010 with an average seven days length of stay (National Health Interview Survey).
  • 17% of adults living in five Lake County communities (representing about half of our entire population) reported incidents of mental illness in that year (2014 Behavioral Health Service Area Study focusing on Northern Lake County).
  • Lake County currently has 59 psychiatric beds and less than 100 psychiatrists to serve those with serious mental health needs.


Contact: Jennie Vana
Phone Number: 847-377-2154