Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Behavioral Health Services at Erie Family Health Center

In my work with Erasing the Distance, I am often asked about free and low-cost mental health services in the Chicagoland area.  Unfortunately, cost is quite often a barrier to long term treatment for mental health issues, and the need for services outweighs the supply.  I was glad to be introduced to Erie Family Services.  Though it's important to note that you must first be enrolled as a medical client before you can be eligible for their mental health services, Erie is dedicated to providing health care to low-income populations.  
We need more services like this, and so I wanted to bring Erie to your attention as a potential resource for our blog readers in the Chicago area.  Here is more information directly from Erie! 

Sheila Fleming
At Erie Family Health Center, we believe health care is a right, not a privilege. And this includes behavioral health care! I am Sheila Fleming (pictured) and I work as the Director of Behavioral Health Services at Erie Family Health Center. 

Erie is a federally-qualified health center that provides primary medical care, health promotion, oral health care, behavioral health care and other health services to low-income populations on Chicago’s northwest side.

Erie provides behavioral health services to our patients at six of our nine centers. At these sites, patients can receive individual therapy and participate in psychosocial educational groups.
Erie provides these services only to individuals that are also enrolled as medical patients.  We also recently added Psychiatry services! Most of our patients are adults and adolescents, although two of our school-based health centers serve many children. To provide care to all of these patients, Erie employs 13 behavioral health staff members, including a Psychiatrist and Psychiatrist Nurse Practitioner. 

One of Erie’s most recent accomplishments has been the expansion of our behavioral health program – an achievement I am particularly excited about!  
In addition to adding Psychiatry services, Erie also introduced behavioral health services to our Erie Helping Hands Health Center, located in Albany Park. 
The behavioral health program at that site includes behavioral health and medical integration. This means that we regularly screen our patients in the medical setting for mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and substance abuse.  It is like one stop shopping for the patients that receive medical, dental and behavioral health services at Erie Helping Hands! The expansion has been a huge success thus far!

Thanks to Sheila and Erie for sharing with us. Visit Erie online at www.eriefamilyhealth.org. 
And if you know of other services like this, do let us know!

Wishing you a healthy day, 
 ~ Oriana at Erasing the Distance

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