Nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness that varies in degree of severity, ranging from mild to moderate to severe and approximately one in every five teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 experience a severe mental disorder at some point during their lifetime. Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14 and three-quarters by age 24. Despite treatment, there are long delays, sometimes decades, between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.
Similarly, habilitative health, which refers to individual skill and development, including physical, occupational, audial, visual, feeding, fine-motor, or speech-language, is something that many youngsters are challenged with today. For example, by first grade, roughly 5% of children have noticeable speech disorders, 15% of children between the ages of 6-19 have a measurable hearing loss in at least one ear, one in every 100 children lives with an auditory processing disorder, and close to 4% of children between the ages of two to 11 are diagnosed with a developmental delay.
Mental and/or habilitative issues are difficult to detect or pinpoint in a child’s early years. Mental health concerns differ in that they can slowly creep into a person’s life while at other times, problems can become glaringly apparent and pop up “out-of-the-blue. Both mental and habilitative issues vary greatly and span a wide spectrum. Conditions like schizophrenia and major depressive disorder sit on one end of the spectrum, trouble enunciating various letters while speaking or feeling uncomfortable in noisy settings balance on the other end of the spectrum, with hundreds of issues in between. People challenged with these issues or those responsible for a loved one challenged with these issues invariably benefit from outside help.
Bright Futures is a Chicago-based mental and habilitative health network designed specifically to do just that – offer help. A division of Chicago Chesed Fund, our network incorporates psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, ADHD coaches, eating disorder clinics; speech, OT, audiology, and vision therapists; academic and executive function coaches, addiction programs, partial and long-term hospitalization programs, caseworkers, and providers who perform a range of testing and evaluations. Those seeking assistance receive referrals to providers that accept their specific insurance, meet their personal specifications, and that are trained in the needed area of specialty; pertinent information about the subject, suitable resources, assistance finding financial aid or sliding-scale providers, guidance, and follow-up.
Over the past two-and-a-half years since Bright Futures started, we have been able to provide the help that so many families desperately need. Just a few ways that we have helped recently are by connecting:
- Therapists who specialize in anxiety and depression as well as boy’s social skills groups for an 8-year-old boy
- A neuropsychiatric evaluation for a 12-year-old girl
- A therapist for a 10-year-old boy who needed behavioral therapy and helped with executive functioning skills
- Audiologists who specialize in unilateral hearing loss for a 3-year-old boy
- A residential treatment program specializing in eating disorders for a 14-year-old girl
- A speech and occupational therapist for an autistic 19-year-old
The goal of Bright Futures is to lighten the burdens of Chicago Jewish community members faced with these various mental and habilitative health issues. We eliminate hours of research, make access to care easier, and provide immeasurable resources. To avail oneself of Bright Future’s services, call 847-679-7799 x 166 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All communications are confidential.
Our new website is due to launch soon… check us out at www.BrightFuturesChicago.org