- Re-establish the mental health clinics that have been shuttered across the city back to 20 total clinics in the city. Use data on existing resources to determine where these new clinics need to be opened to service neighborhoods and communities that are in the greatest need. Some of these need to be open 24 hours a day and accessible to all Chicagoans.
- Develop teams of social workers, paramedics, and peer-support workers who will respond to crises (instead of police) within the community and connect people to ongoing support through CDPH clinics to address social and mental health needs. Many of these resources sit in other departments, but need to be shifted into an independent crisis response body.
- Institute a mental health responder model through the dedicated mental health response line (988), separate from lines that are connected to CPD. There are instances where a co-responder model is still too policed; this dedicated line will create a support unit that brings in mental health professionals to respond to mental health crises. The line and the infrastructure are already in place, but the current administration has yet to set up the system for the city of Chicago.
- The city has long left young people out when designing mental health resources. Partner with CPS to create dedicated youth mental health services; existing clinics are designed to support adults aged 18+, and the young people in our city have unique resource needs that need to be addressed. That includes crisis response in schools and outside, and a concrete path to resolve issues of abuse identified in both environments.
- Modernize the mental health clinic portal; these resources should be accessible and user-friendly so people in crisis can easily find the support they need. Create an online booking platform to provide more options for people to get appointments. These resources should be regularly maintained and updated so communities know where to access mental health support in their area.
- Fight to recoup State and Federal resources for mental health services to increase the budget overall; the current administration has left millions of dollars on the table, making our mental health budget to address these issues a fraction of what it could be.
- Pilot mobile mental health response units in the city to test feasibility, reaction time, and potential scalability. These units would be used to respond to crises in real-time and could transport across the city to get people in crisis the resources they need.
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Together, we can put Kam’s 4 Star Plan into immediate action.