Like many other communities, Grundy County struggles to offer services that prevent and treat mental illness and substance use disorders for the 50,000-plus people who live here. Here are just a few exam
ples of the challenges in the area of behavioral health:
- There are no inpatient beds for mental illness or substance abuse disorders within the county for adults, children, or adolescents
- Psychiatric and other mental health services are limited, difficult to access and hard for many people to afford
- Grundy County has high rates of tobacco use and alcohol abuse among adults and adolescents compared to the state averages
- Heroin addiction is a growing problem in the area
- Among the county’s 10th graders, 33% reported feeling so sad or helpless that they stopped doing usual activities; Among adults, about 30% felt sad or blue more than two days a month
- More prevention and early interventionprogramming is needed to foster behavioral health and wellness
Sources: 2013 Morris Hospital Community Health Needs Assessment and 2014 Illinois Youth Survey
The Behavioral Health Alliance of Grundy County had its beginnings in 2009 when a group of people came together with a determination to do something to address the shortage of behavioral health resources in the county. At first, the goal of the group (then called the Behavioral Health Planning Team) was to obtain a mental health grant for children. Ultimately, the county was a finalist for the grant, but did not receive funding. However, in working toward the grant, the members of the team discovered the power of working and learning together. The BHA was formed with the goals of helping organize the community to provide education and training in behavioral health, to collaborate on projects needed by the county, and to advocate for change that brings needed services and improves community wellness.
President: Bernadine Howard, Catholic Charities Diocese of Joliet
Vice-President: Susan Hudson, Grundy County Health Department Division of Mental Health
Secretary: Anita Young, Chestnut Health Systems
Treasurer: Devan Gagliardo, Community Foundation of Grundy County
Member at Large: Sue Szumski, Morris Hospital and Healthcare Centers
If you are interested in becoming a member of BHA, click here to download a PDF of our 2017 BHA membership form.