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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Samaritan Interfaith sheds light on need for mental health services

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Folks who have been watching recent City Council CDBG & Social Services Funding Priorities Workshops— or reading local newspapers that cover them— are aware that social services are challenged to provide care for individuals battling depression. The most recent workshop provided a view of the five-year plan with new recommendations, objectives and guidelines to help fulfill some of the unmet needs.

On Sept. 11, Naperville’s Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center held its annual Focus on Faith Breakfast at Celebration Center, located at 919 S. Washington St.  And a number of City Council members, including Mayor George Pradel, were in the audience of approximately 200.

Certainly, the 2012 keynote speaker, Fr. Robert Gielow, Chaplain for the Chicago Bears NFL team, attracted many of the men who helped fill 25 tables of eight.  Yet, his message of hope and faith spread widely to the women in attendance as well.

In fact, the chaplain’s  inspirational message  during at a recent funeral held at Friedrich-Jones was the reason Stephanie Jones-Kastelic, co-owner of the funeral home,  helped arrange for him to address Samaritan’s annual breakfast. Jones-Kaselic is pictured here with Fr. Gielow and her father, Ray Jones.

Fr. Gielow didn’t disappoint. In essence, he provided a faithful and good-natured behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Chicago Bears during football season.  From illustrations of traveling with the Bears to a touching story about an 82-year-old college student named Rose, he emphasized the many ways the star athletes put faith into action.

He said he loves his position of saying Mass for the Chicago Bears four-and-a-half hours before every game.  Fans will find him on the sidelines and many times at the Bears away games with his twin brother, Fr. Richard Gielow.

To  illustrate the uplifting impact of faith on everyday lives, Fr. Gielow left everyone with the message, ““Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.”

The annual breakfast is a fundraiser to benefit Samaritan’s Mental Health Access Program. Funds raised help provide care for individuals who are in difficult financial circumstances due to an array of challenges including  job loss, divorce, bereavement and surviving domestic violence.

On behalf of Samaritan Interfaith, board member Jason Altenbern provided several staggering statistics that support the growing need for mental health services provided by the nonprofit counseling center.

In DuPage County…

· Clinical depression is the  Number 1 unmet medical need.

· More than 242,460 residents suffered from a mental disorder in the past 12 months – a 49 percent increase over the past five years.

· More than 10,000 children suffer from depression.

· The DuPage County Coroner reports there have been more suicides in DuPage County than deaths from automobile accidents and homicides combined every year for the past five years.

From Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center

·  1,600 individuals  received 12,500 counseling hours last year. One in five of the clients were children under the age of 18.

· More than 42 percent of Samaritan’s clients needed some level of fee reduction in order to afford services.

· Financial support from friends and businesses led to $436,920 in subsidized mental health services to those in need last year.

· There is a five-fold increase (50 to 290) in the number of clients identified as “at or below poverty level” in just a few short years.

For more information about all the services at Samaritan Interfaith Counseling Center, visit www.samaritancenter.org.

FYI: In the late 1960’s, when the need was identified, three Naperville churches, Knox Presbyterian, Our Saviour’s Lutheran and St. Raphael’s Catholic, united efforts to form an interfaith counseling presence in the community. Now under the leadership of Executive Director Scott Mitchell and located at 1819 Bay Scott Circle, Samaritan has been serving the community as a nonprofit counseling and educational center since 1971.

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PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.

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