Cook County initiative aims to improve mental health of residents

Cook County is investing more than $12 million to try to improve the health quality of residents. Specifically, mental health.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced Thursday the "Building Healthy Communities" initiative. It includes staffing a mental behavioral specialist at all county public housing sites.

The initiative also creates a Department of Public Mental Health Services.


"There is no greater act of courage or strength than to say I need help. And there is no greater act of service to your friends, your family or your colleagues and to help them get the service that they need," said Israel Rocha Jr., CEO of Cook County Health.

The new initiative also staffs social workers at medical clinics.

County leaders say there has been an alarming increase in anxiety and depression since the start of the pandemic.