New Mental Health Facility

Also aiming to help the mentally-ill, DuPage County is partnering with a not-for-profit to create a new comprehensive center.

The DuPage County Health Department plans to build a new $11-million dollar facility near its current one, to help those facing behavioral and mental health issues.

Called The Community Center, the 33,000 square-foot space will offer vocational, recreational, and socialization assistance to help clients get back into mainstream society.

“We want to offer them that whole approach that most people experience as far as holistic wellness so that’s really why we’re focusing on this building and it will incorporate other health department programs in the building but behavioral health will be a part of it,” said Dave Hass, Public Information Officer for the DuPage County Health Department.

The health department is collaborating with the DuPage County affiliate of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

the organization has a capital campaign to raise at least $1-million in donations to fund a portion of what members say is a much-needed resource.

“It’s incredibly necessary. Everybody knows that there are huge cuts [and] the loss of productivity for people with mental illness and their families in DuPage County is $2-billion per year,” said Angela Adkins, Executive Director for NAMI. “The services that we will provide will take over where the services for the health department end.”

Services also include a “Living Room”, an alternative to an emergency room where clients can get peer support in a calming environment to help manage symptoms such as anxiety or depression before spiraling out of control.

The cost per visit is $250 to $300. By comparison, the average cost of an ER visit is $3,000.

Other programs include employment assistance and housing referrals, as NAMI claims that one in four homeless people have a serious mental illness.

Overall, the health department and NAMI hope once finished, the center will offer help in a way that hasn’t been available before in the county.

“We should be really proud in this county that we have come up with a solution,” said Adkins. “It’s not the answer to everything but it’s really going to provide a continuum of care that hasn’t been seen before.”

the project still needs approval from the Wheaton City Council for a special use permit.

if approved, the DuPage County Health Department hopes to break ground in July and have the center open by the fall of 2015.

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