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The Vernon Township Community Mental Health Board recently celebrated its one-year anniversary and remains dedicated to reducing the stigma around mental health, while also increasing awareness of local service providers and breaking down barriers residents may experience to access available services.
The Board meets monthly and has authority in three areas: general mental health services, drug and alcohol use prevention and programming, and services for people with developmental disabilities.
Over the last year, the Board focused on executing a Community Needs Assessment, conducted by Northern Illinois University, to assist in better understanding any service deficits or barriers community members may have in accessing services. The full assessment is now under review and will be the basis for a one-year and three-year plan, intended to include funding allocations for service providers that address the mental health, substance use, and developmental disability needs of Vernon Township residents.
Initial Assessment results revealed many residents believe services are either cost prohibitive, or they are unaware of what is available. Due to this initial information, the Board is meeting with nonprofits and insurance providers to ensure cost is not a deterrent to individuals who need assistance, and organizations that provide services are promoted more comprehensively.
“Our main goals are to support and help to improve how service providers meet our community’s needs in our three areas of focus, while also spreading the word on who they are, and what specific services they provide,” said Mental Health Board President Noelle Moore. “We are also committed to highlighting the importance of mental and emotional wellness for all, so people will be supported with the help that they need.”
In addition to completing the Community Needs Assessment, the Board also met with a variety of groups since its inception in late 2022, including police departments, to gather information and feedback on community partners’ experiences in addressing community needs.
To help to implement new initiatives and to fulfill its mission, the Board is currently seeking a full-time Administrative Specialist who will split their time supporting Vernon Township and the Mental Health Board. For more information, visit vernontownship.com/Jobs.aspx.
To learn more about the services offered through the Mental Health Board, or to contact them directly, visit vtcmhb.org.