Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center hosted its 18th Annual Town Hall Meeting on Friday, February 15, 2019 at the Skokie Public Library. The Town Hall Meeting was open to the public and approximately 100 guests attended.
The program was opened by Skokie Public Library Director Richard Kong and Turning Point CEO Ann Fisher Raney. The panel discussion was moderated by Turning Point Advisory Council Member Alison Leipsiger, Senior Associate Legislative Director at the State Innovation Exchange.
In addition to the anticipated panel of elected officials and local experts, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky made a surprise appearance and joined the panel to discuss a wide variety of topics. The primary focus of the panel discussion was on mental health care access and the impact of current political and economic factors on mental health services.
Panelists included U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Illinois State Senator Laura Fine, Illinois State Senator Ram Villivalam, Illinois State Representative Yehiel Kalish, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen, and Dr. Jane Gubser, Psy.D, of the Cook County Department of Corrections.
Congresswoman Schakowsky delivered a message of hope and positive momentum, encouraging attendees not to curtail their aspirations. In regard to current political challenges, she said, “What seemed impossible yesterday can absolutely be possible tomorrow if we start today.”
A wide range of questions from the audience were fielded including questions concerning safety and mental health care in schools, the Green New Deal, funding for suicide prevention, job training programs for people with mental illness, mental health training for state and local police, affordable housing, and access to mental health care for persons with Medicaid.
In addition to the panel, an invited group of Community Experts were present, representing other businesses, social service agencies, schools, and governmental departments including: Heartland Health Centers, Illinois Association for Behavioral Health, Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health, Impact Behavioral Health Partners, Mental Health America North Shore, NAMI Cook County North Suburban, Niles Township, NorthShore University HealthSystem, School District 68 ELL Parent Center, Skokie Police Department, Skokie Public Library, Village of Skokie, The Josselyn Center, Thresholds, and Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare.
At the close of the Town Hall Meeting both Panelists and Community Experts were available to continue discussions with attendees.