Children suffering from psychological trauma will be receiving help through a new grant issued this month to the behavioral health service area at the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center.
Provided through the National Child Traumatic Stress Initiative at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the grant of $400,000 per year for four years is one of 52 awarded across the country. With an emphasis of assisting children of military families, the program is expected to be self-sustaining after four years.
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"We are fortunate to receive this grant that will allow us to reach out, collaborate with other agencies, and provide direct services to more children," said Irene T. Pierce, Executive Director for the Health Department.
Behavioral Health Service Area Director Dr. Ted Testa added, "An important component of this grant is the federal government is asking us to provide training to schools, first responders and any other agency where direct care providers are working with children ages 3 through 21 years of age."
"The Health Department has a Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services (CABS) program, but there are more young people needing help than the program can provide," said Dominic Caputa, who coordinates the CABS program. "The reduction of state resources has created a need for us to search for other funding to do early intervention in youth," he said.
There is increasing scientific consensus that the origins of adult disease are often the result of early adverse experiences being expressed years later in the form of disease. Caputa said unaddressed trauma increases the risk of mental and substance abuse disorders, as well as risk of chronic diseases and early death.
Established in 1958, the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center is a state certified public health department responsible for the prevention of disease and disability, the promotion of health and the maintenance of a healthful environment. Today, it is rated among the top 6 percent of approximately 3,000 local health departments nationwide, by population served, financing and workforce. Based in Waukegan, it maintains approximately 50 programs in Grayslake, Highland Park, Lake Villa, Libertyville, Mundelein, North Chicago, Park City, Round Lake Beach, Round Lake Park, Vernon Hills, Waukegan and Zion