BROOKFIELD, IL – Today, National Alliance on Mental Illness Metro Suburban (NAMI Met Sub) and Pillars Community Health celebrated the grand opening of The Loft at Eight Corners, the region’s first of its kind teen-focused center aimed at educating, engaging and supporting young people’s mental health in the western suburbs of Chicago. Representatives from the various organizations gathered with local elected officials, mental health advocates, local schools, regional health officers, teen peer advisors, community members, and members of The Loft’s funding organizations to celebrate the grand opening of the space.
“We are so thrilled to celebrate the grand opening of The Loft at Eight Corners, which will be a transformational and unique offering supporting the holistic mental health and wellness of teens and their families,” said Kimberly Knake, Executive Director of NAMI Metro Suburban. “Investments such as this one are crucial as we continue to weather a mental health crisis for our young people here in Chicagoland and across the country. NAMI Metro Suburban is proud to partner with Pillars Community Health, combining our respective areas of expertise in this space to provide mental health support to teens and their families, free of charge.”
At The Loft, high school-aged teens and their families will be able to access a wide range of services, 365 days a year, all free of charge and offered in both English and Spanish, including mental health education and skill-building classes to reduce incidence of mental health crises, evidence-based interventions, strategies for teens and families to self-manage and support their mental health needs, and crisis response and intervention when needed. The Loft will serve as a supplement to other services to help teens who are struggling with mental health issues normalize what they’re feeling and get the help they need or start on a path to recovery.
“Today is an important step in expanding mental health care for teens in the western suburbs of Chicago, and it is our hope that this space will provide vital support to those struggling with mental health experiences,” said Angela Curran, President and CEO of Pillars Community Health. “Pillars Community Health and NAMI Metro Suburban joining forces on this important initiative will allow us to provide a pioneering approach that combines clinical work with peer support to more young adults each year. We are excited to offer a space where teens using our services will feel empowered and supported in their mental health journeys.”
The Loft opens at a crucial time as young adults continue to deal with the lasting impacts of isolation, trauma, and loss, along with unprecedented levels of mental health concerns, suicidal ideations, and rates of depression. In the western suburbs, data increasingly emphasizes the severity of increased mental health issues affecting the region’s teens. As of 2019, depression is more prevalent in suburban Cook County compared to the state and national averages, with 22.0% of suburban Cook County residents reporting depressive symptoms, compared to 18.0% statewide and 20% nationally.
“One of the ways the Foundation accomplishes its vison of building healthier communities is by partnering with our grantees to increase access to quality mental health services,” said Greg DiDomenico, President, Community Memorial Foundation. “We are proud to collaborate with NAMI Metro Suburban, Pillars Community Health, and our local funding partners on this new asset that will empower teens and families to know that mental wellness is within their reach. The Foundation is very grateful to support a program that is so responsive, collaborative, and inspiring.”
The leadership of youth within The Loft through an intentional, participatory approach, is essential to the center’s unique model that allows for teens to be equipped and empowered to drive their own mental health. Through a working Teen Advisory Committee, The Loft seeks to lead with teen voices at the center of services and programming.
NAMI Metro Suburban and Pillars Community Health have worked together for over eight years to address the mental health needs of communities across the western suburbs, combining NAMI Met Sub’s experience in peer recovery support and mental health education with PCH’s’ expertise in youth mental health and crisis intervention. The Loft is generously supported by several local funding partners, including Community Memorial Foundation, Healthy Communities Foundation, Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation, Naffah Family Foundation, Proviso Township Mental Health Commission, VNA Foundation, Westlake Foundation, and a $1 million dollar grant from Cook County.
For more information on The Loft at Eight Corners, visit http://Loft8Corners.org.
About NAMI Metro Suburban:
NAMI Metro Suburban is a grassroots family and consumer self-help support, education and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of people, families and communities affected by mental illness in the western suburbs of Cook County, Oak Park, River Forest, Lyons Township, Proviso Township, Riverside, Berwyn and Cicero. Since 1992, NAMI Metro Suburban has fought for families and individuals impacted by mental health conditions through promoting community wellness, breaking down barriers to mental health care and providing support and expertise for families, professionals and individuals. The affiliate also operates three extremely successful Living Rooms, which serve as alternatives to hospitalization for individuals in mental health distress or crisis and drop-in centers where people can learn more about mental health care options. Learn more at https://namimetsub.org/
About Pillars Community Health
Pillars Community Health has been serving western Cook County communities for over 100 years. The organization’s mission is to improve the health of communities and empower individuals through compassionate, whole-person care. Pillars Community Health provides primary medical and dental services, a continuum of behavioral health services, and domestic and sexual violence services. Pillars Community Health’s continuum of behavioral health services for persons of all ages includes crisis response and intervention teams, individual and group mental health counseling, community-based services with schools and other agencies, community support services, employment services, substance use disorder services, and psychiatry. Services for children and their families also includes Buddy’s Place grief support, family support services and most recently, Pillars Community Health has become a Pathways To Success provider to coordinate care for children enrolled in Medicaid with complex behavioral health needs. Sliding scale discounts based on income and family size are available for healthcare services. Learn more at https://pillarscommunityhealth.org/.