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Leaders Celebrate Opening of New Health Program in Englewood

More than 100 community leaders, service providers and local residents gathered today for the official opening of the Child & Wellness Program at Mile Square Health Center Englewood, the first facility in Chicago’s Englewood community to offer integrated physical and mental health care services to families. The Center is located at 641 W. 63rd St.

Metropolitan Family Services President and CEO Ric Estrada joined a variety of experts who provided insights during the event’s panel discussion including Dr. Bechara Choucair, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health; Ald. Willie Cochran, 20th Ward; Dr. Bennett Leventhal, University of California San Francisco and University of Chicago; Heather Higgins Alderman, President of the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation; Henry Taylor, Executive Director of UI Mile Square Health Center; and Dr. LaMorris Perry, Pediatrician, UI Health Mile Square Center Englewood.

The Child and Family Wellness Program was made possible by Healthy Minds, Healthy Children, Healthy Chicago (H3), an initiative that integrates primary health care with mental health services. H3 is a partnership between Metropolitan Family Services and the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, funded by a 5-year, $2 million award from Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF).

“Mental health services have always been an integral part of the services we provide at Metropolitan Family Services,” said Ric Estrada, President and CEO of Metropolitan Family Services. “By integrating services with Mile Square, a doctor visit becomes much more.”

The H3 innovative model of care transforms the traditional doctor-patient to a team-patient relationship and where mental healthcare will be a core component of the team’s delivery of primary care.

“Families get access to mental health care, parenting tools, legal aid or referrals to others who can help,” Estrada added. “Children suffering from anxiety can’t come to the classroom ready to learn. Parents struggling with depression can’t provide the emotional support their children need. Addressing these mental health issues along with physical healthcare can profoundly impact individuals, families and communities in high-risk areas.”

A study by the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Task Force found that nearly 50 percent of Chicago inner-city adolescents demonstrated signs and symptoms of depression. H3’s team of healthcare professionals will provide mental health services, including screenings, counseling and support services, medication management and mental health care coordination for children and their families, providing much-needed services to thousands of children and families in Englewood.

“These high-risk communities lacked adequate services to address the mental health needs of families and children who exhibit symptoms of stress, anxiety, attachment disorders, depression, anger management concerns, and other common mental health symptoms,” said Heather Higgins Alderman, President, Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation. “We are already witnessing how families can benefit from integrating primary care and mental health services and our grantee partners plan to serve thousands of children and families over the next five years,” she added.

About Metropolitan Family Services
Metropolitan Family Services empowers families to learn, to earn, to heal, to thrive. Part mentor, part motivator, part advocate, since 1857 Metropolitan Family Services has been the engine of change that empowers Chicago-area families to reach their greatest potential and positively impact their communities.