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DuPage County Announces New Council for Mental Health, Substance Use Care

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Above / DuPage County County Board and DuPage County Health Department have teamed up to create the new 22-member DuPage Council on Strengthening the System for Mental for Mental Health and Substance Use Care. Meetings will be open to public.

Wheaton – The DuPage County Board and DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) has announced the new DuPage Council on Strengthening the System for Mental Health and Substance Use Care (DCSS). This Council is an ambitious transformation of the HOPE Taskforce designed to further integrate countywide efforts to improve mental health and reduce substance use disorders.

“As I envisioned an organization that would help to expand access to quality mental health services in DuPage County, it made sense to also include our efforts to reduce substance use disorder in our community. We know that very often, these two struggles are linked,” stated DuPage County Board Chair Deborah Conroy in a news release on Nov. 6, 2023.

“I believe this Council will provide expertise and desperately needed resources for those seeking behavioral health care, those fighting addiction and their families, who so often feel powerless and don’t know where to turn,” Conroy said.

The new DCSS Council is a joint operation of the DuPage County Board and DCHD. The Council will consist of members who specialize in mental health and substance use disorder treatment, recovery, criminal justice, public health, prevention, and education. This Council will include local and state elected officials as well as community stakeholders and individuals with lived experience.

Conroy, and DCHD Executive Director Adam Forker will serve as co-chairs of the Council.

DuPage Council on Strengthening the System for Mental Health and Substance Use Care (DCSS)

The following individuals shall be serving on DCSS:

  • State Senator Karina Villa (25th District)
  • State Representative Terra Costa Howard (District 42)
  • County Board Member Paula Deacon Garcia (District 2)
  • County Board Member Greg Schwarze (District 6)
  • County Board Member Cindy Cronin Cahill (District 1)
  • County Board Member Sam Tornatore (District 1) 
  • DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin
  • DuPage County Coroner Dr. Richard Jorgensen
  • Judge Paul A. Marchese (18th Judicial Circuit Associate Judge)
  • DuPage County Public Defender Jeff York
  • Fire Chief Keith Krestan (Lisle-Woodridge Fire District)
  • Chief of Police Roy Newton (Lombard, Retired)
  • Dr. Daniel Sullivan
  • Felicia Miceli
  • Jarret Burton
  • Jeff Geiger
  • Sheryl Bates
  • Cara Siebert
  • Jennifer Hess
  • Dr. Natasha Dolgin
  • Geri Kerger
  • Karyn Charvat

The (DCSS) Council will be supported by an initial annual investment of $250,000 from the DuPage County Board. Funds will support innovative grassroots projects, encourage transformational changes that improve access to care, and seek to educate communities about behavioral health prevalence, risk factors, and symptoms. The goal of the Council is to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and substance use disorder and to encourage those impacted to seek treatment. The Council will support families, caregivers and community members who are also affected.

“The Council will implement strategies to enhance awareness of and access to services for residents impacted by mental health and substance use disorders,” said Forker in a written statement.

Set for every-other-month, DCSS meetings open to public

The (DCSS) Council meetings will occur every other month, in person, at the Linda A. Kurzawa Community Center at 115 North County Farm Road, Wheaton.

The first meeting is scheduled for 9AM Fri.,  Nov. 17, according to Evan Shields, Public Information Officer for the DuPage County Board.

Interested members of the community are invited to attend the (DCSS) Council meetings, which will be open and announced on the DuPage County Board and DCHD websites.

Release submitted by Public Information Officer for the DuPage County Board.

 

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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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