mental health

Kane County Mental Health Agencies Plead For Funding

Some are calling it the worst mental health crisis Kane County has seen: "This mental health crisis is the second pandemic."

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Long waitlists amid skyrocketing demand for critical mental health services has a number of agencies pleading for more funding.

On Tuesday night, 14 agencies signed up to plead their case for federal funds from the American Rescue Plan to address a worker shortage in order to deal with the demand for behavioral health services.

TriCity Family Services says it has the longest waitlist of patients in its history. As of Wednesday, 154 families were on the waitlist, according to Executive Director Laura Poss.

"I’ve been in this business for 25 years and I have never seen this type of mental health crisis," said Poss. "The waiting list we have at TriCity is longer than it has ever been."

Kane County has launched a pilot program in the form of a community grant that would open $4 million for agencies dealing in mental health services, homeless shelters and food pantries.

Kane County board member Jarett Sanchez said over the next couple of months a portal could open so that these agencies can apply for funds to address their needs.

"Sign-on bonuses, retention bonuses, things like that; those are allowable uses," said Sanchez. "We are working with our public health department to come up with more long-term funding plans to use the health department as a hub to distribute some of these funds."

Kane County’s American Rescue Plan committee still needs to determine all eligibility criteria before sending it to the full board for a vote.

Sanchez hopes that happens before the end of the year.

"If I could hire 20 more therapists, I would," said Poss. "This mental health crisis is the second pandemic."

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