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The Woman’s Board Makes Mental Health Top of Mind

Chicago’s gun violence dominates the daily news, but its psychological impact on Rush’s communities goes far beyond the headlines — it’s one of the many causes of mental health disorders in Chicago’s youth.
Changing the course of care, a $450,000 gift from the Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center is bringing desperately-needed mental health services directly to Chicago families through Rush’s school-based health centers. Seeing more than 1,400 youth each year in more than 4,000 visits, Rush’s school-based health center teams have identified a 400 percent increase in mental health issues requiring treatment in the past seven years — a severe need the centers are not fully-equipped to address.
The board’s gift launched Rush’s school-based mental health program to provide screenings and treatments that recognize and respond to traumatic stress on children, caregivers and service providers — many of whom encounter depression, substance abuse, poverty and violence daily.
“We have the opportunity to build something that a lot of school-based health centers only dream about,” said Sally Lemke, director of community based practices as Rush. “Everybody has the need; not everybody has the resources — and that’s what the Woman’s Board has provided.”
Continuing their longtime support of Rush communities, the Woman’s Board’s recent fall benefit, An Evening of Whimsy, raised funds for the Rush Education and Career Hub, or REACH. The innovative education and workforce pipeline development program provides college readiness classes, mentorship, job shadowing and internships for West Side high school and college students.