COOK COUNTY, IL – As the number of juveniles in need of mental health services continues to increase, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind teens and their loved ones that the Sheriff’s Office’s Community Resource Center (CRC) stands ready to help connect them to the services they need to thrive.
Launched in 2020 as a free service to the public, the CRC is staffed by a team of clinicians, social workers, and caseworkers who curate a database of mental health, medical, and social service agencies across the county, enabling them to directly link individuals in need with the organizations that can best help them.
“Our governments must have ongoing investment in the kinds of services that can help young people and others receive treatment in their communities,” Sheriff Dart said. “Teenagers and their families need to know the Cook County Sheriff’s Office is there for them.”
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the sobering reality is that the national mental health crisis is growing, particularly among young people.
In December, the U.S. Surgeon General warned of a “devastating” mental health crisis among teens in the U.S. Indeed, recent studies with teens have shown that even prior to the pandemic:
- The percentage of adolescents reporting major depressive episodes increased to 60% from 2007 to 2018. (National Survey of Children’s Health – NSCH)
- Suicide rates of people between ages 10 and 24 increased nearly 60% from 2007 to 2018, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- In 2018-2019, 13.2% of youths ages 3 to 17 years – just over 8 million – had a current, diagnosed mental or behavioral health condition (NSCH).
The pandemic only served to intensify the problem. A study released in December by the CDC found that 44% of teens reported feelings of hopelessness or persistent sadness during the past year, underscoring the importance of youth access to mental health services.
In light of this need, the CRC is available to any resident of Cook County, no matter their age. CRC staff are committed to help people identify the services they need and connect them with individuals and organizations specializing in mental health assistance and treatment.
Since 2020, CRC staff have addressed more than 4,600 requests for assistance, many for mental health-related concerns.
“It can be incredibly difficult for young people and their families to identify and access the treatment they need, and I want to make sure everyone, regardless of age, knows the CRC will do everything it can to help.”