Moving Forward: IMAN’s Behavioral Health Program

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.

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