By Joan Hartman, CEO, Center for Human Services
It is estimated that one in five adults and children live with a mental health issue. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for children aged 10–14 and gun violence has surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death in children and teens in the US. Four in ten high school students report they feel persistently sad or hopeless and one in five have contemplated suicide.
Sadly, in the US, only about 20 percent of children with emotional, mental, or behavioral disorders receive care from a specialized mental health care provider. In Illinois, almost 26 percent of adults needing mental health help are not able to get it.
The Center for Human Services has worked hard to ensure that adults and children in McLean County don’t fall within these statistics. Since 1927 The Center has worked in tandem with the community to create services that most meet the needs of county residents. Operating under the mission to provide high-quality, recovery-oriented, community-based behavioral health services, their goal is to bring hope to individuals struggling with their mental well-being, empowering them to build happy, healthy lives.
To accomplish this goal, The Center offers a comprehensive array of behavioral health services including a mobile crisis team that has served McLean County for over 50 years. The mobile crisis team provides responsive, on-site counseling and evaluation to individuals in crisis 24 hours per day seven days per week throughout the County. When an individual, family member, emergency room staff, or a first responder calls The Center, several response options are available depending on the situation, ranging from a phone intervention to sending out the team for emergency on-site support.
Crisis Intervention is a proven, effective way to meet the needs of a person experiencing a mental health crisis. Interventions provided by The Center can avoid unnecessary hospitalization and may prevent a situation from devolving into entanglement with the criminal justice system. In fact, a clinical intervention can frequently better meet the needs of both the client and the community. Once engaged with a client, the Crisis Team can evaluate and recommend follow-up services appropriate to the client’s immediate needs on the continuum of holistic services that The Center provides. The Mobile Crisis Team works in partnership with PATH and its 211 Line to ensure 24-hour a day seven days a week coverage across McLean County. In fiscal year 2022, the Mobile Crisis Team responded to over 4,200 calls.
Services for Youth
The Center works in several ways to address the needs of children and adolescents. Child and Adolescent Outreach Services take place mainly through schools across the County. Children and teens usually connect to the Youth Outreach Services program through a school referral, when the needs of a child are beyond what the school guidance office can provide. After a discussion with the child’s parents, the Outreach Services clinician engages with school staff to set up counseling at school during a time of the day least disruptive to the child’s school schedule. Parents and guardians, pediatricians, court services programs, and other social service agencies can also make direct referrals for the services of the Outreach Team. Children can also request, on their own, to see a counselor.
Outpatient Counseling offers clinic-based individual counseling to those struggling with behavioral health problems including depression, anxiety, trauma, family/life stressors, anger issues, and behavioral concerns. These services are offered to adults, youth, and families. In this program, trained therapists provide proven counseling methods with the goal of providing support, developing coping skills, and building natural supports to enhance independent functioning.
Psychiatric Treatment is provided to adults and adolescents with high-risk, severe, and persistent mental illness. Services in this program include psychiatric evaluation, psychotropic medication management, nursing support, and case management. Nursing staff is also available to provide education and training around the use of medications for mental health.
The Recovery Program offers individual and group services that are built upon individual strengths to adults struggling with severe behavioral health problems. Case management and community support services are provided to help with issues such as illness management, life skill development, linkage to community resources, and socialization. All of these services aim to assist individuals in recovery by building natural supports, achieving self-sufficiency, maintaining community living, and most of all instilling hope in their ability to recover.
Through additional community collaborations, the Center has opened two new programs in the past year. In partnership with McLean County, The Center opened the Behavioral Health Urgent Care (BHUC) which is available free of charge to individuals 18 and older experiencing a behavioral health crisis. The Center uses the “living room model” of crisis intervention, with the space designed to feel like the client is walking into someone’s living room. The BHUC provides an alternative to emergency departments for individuals who are not in need of medication or medical support.
In collaboration with Heartland Community College, The Center opened the first Peer Recovery Support Learning Lab in the State of Illinois. The Learning Lab provides training and support to individuals with lived experience with a mental health or substance use condition to become Peer Recovery Support Specialists.
Coming soon to The Center is a recovery community center designed to provide support and education to individuals and families affected by substance use. A New Horizon will be opening in September at The Center’s location on 530 N. Center Street in downtown Bloomington.
The Center takes part in a number of initiatives and programs to help build our community and live our mission of providing high-quality, recovery-oriented, community-based behavioral health services; bringing hope to individuals struggling with their mental well-being, empowering them to build happy, healthy lives.
For more information you may call 309.827.5351 or visit them online at www.mcchs.org. The Center is located at 108 W. Market St. in Downtown Bloomington. The Behavioral Health Urgent Care (BHUC) is located at 520 N. Center St. in the Tower Center just a half block north of the main location on Market St.