The Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County (HFNLC) has awarded more than $475,000 for the treatment of both acute and chronic mental health problems

Mental Health Gets Nearly $.5 Million Boost in Northern Lake County

(Waukegan, IL) In the first of two rounds of grantmaking for 2013, the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County (HFNLC) today announced that it has awarded a total of $1,164,500, including more than $475,000 earmarked for the treatment of both acute and chronic mental health problems.

While the exact number of county residents with untreated mental health conditions is not known, a recent report commissioned by the Leadership Task Force of Lake County estimates that the figures are high. An analysis of available data from the National Institute of Mental Health and U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration conducted by Rob Paral and Associates suggests that nearly 29,000 residents were not treated for “serious psychological distress” in the last year. Approximately 11,000 Lake County adults received no treatment for a major depressive episode and more than 1,000 were not treated for a severe mental health disorder.

“Right now, more than a dozen nonprofit organizations provide counseling and therapy in Lake County. The health department’s community clinics provide services, as well. But it’s a patchwork, not a system, and no one has the resources to keep up with the need,” says Ernest Vasseur, executive director of the Healthcare Foundation.

“Until the county develops and implements a plan for addressing that need, I’m afraid there will be an awful lot of people who will simply have to continue doing without. And doing without can exact a heavy price, not only on an individual but on the family and the community as a whole.”

More than half the funds awarded by the Foundation this May will be used to provide direct services, that is, dental, mental health and medical care to uninsured, underinsured, and medically underserved residents of northern Lake County. An additional $186,000 in funding to community health education projects will help provide three part-time community health workers in Latino and African American communities as well as case management and in-home services—including respite and support—for families with medically complex newborns and infants up to four years of age.

Established in 2006 following the sale of Saint Therese Medical Center and Victory Memorial Hospital to Community Health Systems, HFNLC addresses gaps in health services, increases the capacity of effective organizations and programs, and fosters innovative solutions to persistent healthcare access problems. Its newest grants bring the Foundation’s total funding since 2007 to more than $9 million. A complete list of grantees can be found here.

Contact: Ernest Vasseur, (847) 377-0525, Ext. 25,

or Angela Baran, (847) 377-0525, ext. 26