Recognizing the incredible role our crisis response team plays in keeping our communities and youth healthy and safe, the Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation (ILCHF) has provided $99,960 to KYC’s SASS/MCR Program (Screening, Assessment, and Support Services/Mobile Crisis Response) to ensure our team remains fully staffed and ready to respond to youth and families when they need support most.
“Although our crisis programs serve all ages, most calls involve youth who are either suicidal or homicidal” explained Grace Hong Duffin, KYC’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our team shows up during one of the hardest and scariest moments for any family and are trained to save lives.”
SASS/MCR provides 24⁄7 crisis services to individuals and families in psychiatric emergency. Dispatched through the CARES statewide hotline, mental health workers respond to individuals at risk for harming themselves of others, most often children in crisis. Each client is evaluated on the spot, with personalized care plans initiated to keep both the client and their family members safe. Once the initial crisis has been stabilized, more long-term care plans are made for the coming months to help build long-term coping mechanisms and strategies that minimize hospitalization and work toward a client’s recovery. Often, this involves coordinating care not only with the family unit, but with doctors, teachers, social workers, police departments, and others, all working together through the SASS/MCR team.
“The SASS agency network represents a special and especially important type of provider of children’s mental health services in Illinois,” shared Amy Starin, the Foundation’s Senior Program Officer for Mental Health. “The agencies are uniquely positioned to provide the full array of mental health supports to children and families, ranging from prevention education to community mental health services to crisis response. Sustaining these providers is critical for maintaining a mental health safety net,” Starin continued.
As shared on their website, “ILCHF has a single vision: that every child in Illinois grows up healthy.” It was with this commitment that ILCHF recognized the deep financial impacts COVID-19 has had on behavioral health providers serving children. To ensure these most critical services remain in place for the future, ILCHF provided more than $2,500,000 to 23 agencies statewide, including KYC.
As many KYC programs continue to surge with record-numbers of clients in need of support during the pandemic, a few programs saw significant decreases when the pandemic broke in March. For KYC’s SASS/MCR Team, in-take call levels dropped by as much as 45%, reflective of the sudden closure of many of the institutions trained to safeguard children’s health: schools, park districts, and after-school programs.
“While these program investments will not make the programs whole, the funding will provide financial support that these organizations largely plan to use to continue to support SASS staff positions, further enhancing the overall viability of the SASS mental health services in Illinois” provides Heather Higgins Alderman, ILCHF’s President.
KYC’s SASS/MCR Team responds to crisis calls across nine townships: Barrington, Elk Grove, Hanover, Maine, Palatine, Schaumburg, and Wheeling, responding to more than 1,500 crisis calls in a typical year.
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