Cook County devotes millions in federal funds for behavioral health

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(The Center Square) – Cook County has devoted $44 million in federal American Rescue Plan tax funds to behavioral health grants.

The money is going to 53 organizations as part of the county’s Stronger Together Initiative, which aims to address behavioral health inequities. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said the grantees are doing significant work in the behavioral health space.

“Providing financial support to these organizations helps us increase our touch points throughout the county, particularly areas with high rates on the Social Vulnerability Index,” Preckwinkle said.

Cook County Commissioner Anthony Quezada said the grant program is connecting and centralizing organizations together.

“I look forward to investing more resources in the years to come to make sure that this is a guaranteed investment,” Quezada said.

More than 300 organizations applied for grants up to one-million dollars. In part, the grant money is intended to address the effects of violent crime.

Avik Das, executive director of the Cook County Justice Advisory Council, said the investments advance violence prevention work and make communities safer.

“I cannot overstate the interconnectedness of violence prevention and behavioral health, of centering the well-being of the whole person and helping people in communities recover from violence and experience more peace in their lives,” Das said.

Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, chief operating officer for the Cook County Department of Public Health, said grant recipients have shared success stories from previous, smaller investments.

“For instance, they’ve shared the story about the mom who received treatment for herself and her family members after losing a child to fatal violence,” Hasbrouck said.

The grants awards are part of Stronger Together: Building a More Equitable Behavioral Health System in Cook County Initiative.

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