The Chairman of the Winnebago County Board, Scott Christiansen, convened the Winnebago County Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC) and appointed seven (7) community members to the MHAC as mandated by 55 ILCS 5/5-24027. The charge of this committee outlined in the legislation was to
- Assess the current state of mental services in the county;
- Monitor for changes in the available mental health services; and
- Make recommendations for additional mental health services if deemed necessary.
The MHAC met from 2011 through 2015 to complete their charge and the final report was submitted in May 2016. Based on the assessment, the following gaps were identified:
- Lack of crisis response and stabilization services;
- Shortage of mental health treatment for children and integrated system for persons with multiple mental health disorders;
- Lack of family and community support for intellectual/developmental disabilities and scarcity of resources for supportive care;
- Delay in client identification due to lack of outreach services and accessing timely assessment and diagnosis;
- Need for relational, face-to-face engagement case management services.
Community driven strategies focused on funding crisis response services; establishing pediatric mental health services; developing a community support system for mental health; identifying a coordination group to implement and evaluate the community support system; and establishing long-term community drive funding sources for mental health.
In October 2019, the Winnebago County Board established the Winnebago County Community Mental Health Board (WCCMHB) by resolution (2019 CR 128) to address the priorities identified by the MHAC. Through the collective work of multiple advocacy organizations, Winnebago County passed a sales tax referendum to fund mental health services in Winnebago County in February 2020.
The ongoing work of the Winnebago County Mental Health Board can be found on their website.
To get involved in addressing mental health needs in community, contact the Winnebago County Mental Health Board
For archived work of the MHAC, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org