If you’ve never heard the saying that health is not just the absence of an illness, then we welcome you to the world of behavioral and mental health. Behavioral health is about addressing mental health needs which range from severe mental illness to supporting people to grow in their own lives.
April, 2014 marked two years since six community mental health centers closed in the City of Chicago. These community clinics served as vital resources for maintaining the stability of the under or uninsured who needed assistance with mental health. You can check out what’s being said about the community mental health clinics closures here.
Throughout all of this, the IMAN Health Clinic remains committed to the health and wellness of all, and seeks to strengthen its behavioral health capacity. The Clinic has staffed a clinical psychologist, Michelle Anderson, PhD, to offer direct services and expand the program. Dr. Anderson has an extensive background in community mental health needs. She has worked with youth (age 10 and older), as well as adults and families in different locations.
The behavioral and mental program at IMAN’s Health Clinic offers services including individual therapy, career and life sessions, marital/couples sessions and family sessions for families with children ages 10 and older. The program is also seeking to collaborate with other organizations in the area to address issues related to violence and safety. The behavioral health program will provide group events to give the community the opportunity to learn new ways to reduce stress and increase positive emotions. Eventually the behavioral health program will expand to include more counselors and professionals seeking specialized training in community mental health. Behavioral health service hours at the Clinic are currently: Tues and Wed from 9:30-4 and Thurs from 1-4.
The behavioral health program at the IMAN Health Clinic is supported by the Chicago Community Trust.
The expansion of IMAN Health Clinic continues. The Clinic is now open Monday through Friday 9 AM–5 PM, in addition to our original hours of Sunday, 10 AM–2 PM. This is a remarkable development in several ways. First, we are continuing to increase access to our community that is in the middle of a medically underserved area. Second, we have moved into uncharted territory with our Clinic being open 5 1/2 days a week. Third, this represents the largest expansion of the Clinic at one time, increasing from six half-days a week to 11 half-days a week.
This move is the culmination of a great deal of planning and deployment of resources and moves us further along our path toward a fully holistic and fulltime health center. IMAN’s Health Clinic began in response to the lack of access to healthcare on the South Side of Chicago, as a grassroots clinic providing health screenings two days a week. Over the last five years, IMAN’s Clinic has transitioned from a basic, grassroots clinic into a comprehensive health center that operates six days a week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
As always, we will continue our best efforts to maintain the highest quality of care and standards of efficiency, and the commitment to a welcoming and culturally sensitive environment, on behalf of everybody involved with the Clinic. As we continue our journey, we will always need support and input from the communities that we serve and that support us. If anyone has any interest in health care and wishes to join our efforts, please contact us.
On Friday, February 21, Senator Dick Durbin, IL’s senior and the nation’s second highest-ranking senator, spent two hours with IMAN, directly engaging its leaders and projects. Key IMAN allies and leaders from the Multifaith Housing Reclamation Campaign that IMAN led with the Jewish Council of Urban Affairs and the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) were also present for a brief lunch with the Senator before he took a tour of IMAN’s various projects. Senator Durbin was moved by the way leaders, residents and clergy from different faith traditions in the area have successfully mobilized to build power and demand change.
The Senator showed great interest in the current work being done on the second Green ReEntry home, and, in particular, discussed and shared ideas for how to take Green ReEntry to scale, and how this unique approach to tackling lack of decent housing, job skills, public safety, and effective reentry programs is needed in communities across the country. The Senator was also presented with plans for the future IMAN Health and Wellness campus, which IMAN hopes to have completed by its 20th Anniversary in 2017. The Senator showed particular interest in the planned Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) building, which will grow out of IMAN’s current Health Clinic and which will anchor the Health and Wellness campus centered. He was very impressed to learn of the larger Muslim community’s support for the work of the Clinic over the years and to discover how organizations such as Islamic Relief USA, the Mosque Foundation and Muslim families across Illinois and the country have been the primary funders of an effort that has touched thousands of uninsured and under-insured residents over the years.
Senator Durbin also took time during his visit to address congregants gathered that day for a special Jum’ah service led by Usama Canon. We hope that these visits from and contacts with the Senator and his office will continue, and that this cooperation will translate into a broadening of IMAN’s model of service and change in inner-cities.
Up to 28% of Americans have a diagnosable behavioral health condition, and few seek treatment. In the primary care setting such as IMAN Health Clinic, the majority of visits have a psychological basis. Health centers, as primary care providers to 15 million medically underserved individuals, are critically important sources of behavioral health services. With the recent budgetary cuts leading to closure of mental health facilities in our area, the need for mental health services has escalated and contributed to the increase in violence in schools and communities, along with gun shootings. Behavioral problems in schools conjoined with unstable family structures create a vicious cycle of unaddressed emotional issues, for both the future and present generations. Violence is a symbol of the human outcry that all hope has been lost
It is abundantly clear that behavioral health stands out as a compelling and immediate issue confronting communities that the IMAN Health Clinic serves, as well as the national health care and prisons systems. The disproportionately high rate of mental disorders in prisons is related to several factors: the widespread misconception that all people with mental disorders are a danger to public; the general intolerance of society to difficult or disturbing behavior; the failure to promote treatment, care, and rehabilitation; and above all, the lack of access to mental health services. In short, our society would rather inhumanely imprison people with psychiatric illness than spend time and money to rehabilitate those who suffer from mental health issues.
In response to these issues, IMAN began a mental health program last year by hiring Francisco Lorenzo, a licensed clinical social worker. Though the general support of LISC and our partnership with SWOP, Francisco implemented a program to address pediatric mental health issues, both within local community schools and utilized our Clinic to provide services to adults and families. Chicago Community Trust allowed us to expand our work by hiring a marriage and family therapist, Fatima Noubani. If you would like to join us in moving forward our mission to alleviate barrier to mental health care services, please make your commitment by applying for the Behavioral Health Coordinator position in our Clinic.