In 2017, The Kennedy Forum Illinois, with the support of the Chicago Department of Public Health, NAMI Chicago, UIC, and other community and behavioral health partners, began working with communities to provide free mental health literacy trainings.
In collaboration with UIC’s Jane Addams College of Social Work, trainings were evaluated to measure effectiveness. Through UIC’s research, these trainings proved to decrease stigma and increase participants’ ability to identify the signs and symptoms of someone experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. The results were published in the Social Work and Mental Health magazine.
The publication of this research led Chicago Medicine Magazine to publish an article written by UIC’s chief researcher, Dr. Amy Watson, and The Kennedy Forum Illinois’ Program Director, James Burns. The article summarizes the West Side Outreach Pilot Project and further cements the importance of working directly with community members to lessen stigma, increase mental health literacy, and provide resources. You can find the article below.
The West Side Outreach Pilot Project became the Mental Health Public Awareness Initiative and continued work on Chicago’s south side and has provided free mental health training to over 2,200 stakeholders from the school, faith, and community-based organization communities through the end of 2019. If you or your organization would like to participate in a free mental health training session, please click the form below.