Will-Grundy Medical Clinic announces partnership with Will County Community Mental Health Board

The Will-Grundy Medical Clinic announced a partnership with the Will County Community Mental Health Board for targeted behavioral health assessment.

The assessment will be conducted by the WGMC’s Equity Institute, and it will specifically study the mental and behavioral health, substance use and developmental disabilities needs, gaps in care, local policy and impacts in Will County. It will run through April 2024, and result in a comprehensive needs assessment report in May 2024 that will inform future behavioral health policies and initiatives in Will County that impact safety net organizations and the vulnerable populations they serve.

The University of Illinois Chicago and the Will County MAPP Collaborative will provide support on this four-pronged assessment. It will be related to mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities, and will include a community-driven data assessment, behavioral health organizational assessment, health status assessment based on validated local, state, and federal data sources, and stakeholder prioritization.

Areas surveyed include Joliet, Wilmington/Braidwood, Essex, Plainfield/Bolingbrook, and University Park/Beecher and the assessment will encompass reporting on access and utilization among the population, barriers to utilization, system framework and deliverance of essential services by level of activity, and overarching population health outcomes associated with DSM-V diagnostics and treatments.

WGMC Executive Director Shawn Marconi said there is a need for more robust support for behavioral health programs in Will County. According to the 2023 County Health Rankings, the county needs to almost double its number of behavioral health providers. With only 645 mental health providers, the ratio of patients to providers stands at 1,010:1, compared to 370:1 for Illinois and 560:1 nationally. Resources in Will County are limited for hospitalizations for mental health disorders as well as inpatient/outpatient treatment for substance use disorders. Without addressing these issues, Will County’s healthcare infrastructure will face significant strain.

“Not addressing Public Health Equity in America is costing the United States roughly a trillion dollars per year, according to a study conducted and released in JAMA Network,” says Nicole T. Garrett, MPH, the WGMC Director of Data and Quality. “The further in debt the United States goes in health cost burden, currently accounting for a 3rd of our nation’s overall GDP, the exponential lasting impact it has and will continue to have on our economy,”

WGMC and the WCCMHB believe this assessment will allow for more nuanced discussions and focused efforts to address the mental health needs of Will County’s residents.

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network provides local news throughout northern Illinois