According to Elk Grove Township Clinical Director Luanne Pross, there has been a substantial increase in the number of individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues over the last several years. Pross believes that COVID-19 pandemic, social media, and financial uncertainty are some of the more significant factors driving this emerging crisis. She is especially concerned about the increase in mental health problems occurring among adolescents and children. Pross points out that mental health visits to emergency rooms by adolescents and children jumped 31% in 2020 and that this trend has shown few signs of slowing down.
“Mental health issues are a growing concern for our society, our communities, and our families. Unfortunately, the resources available to address the problem have not kept pace with the need,” said Pross. She notes that the Township, as a community mental health provider, has been aware of the growing crisis and has been consistently expanding its services to meet the needs of its residents. “In addition to the therapy services we directly provide, we work closely with other mental health agencies, like the Josselyn Center, Kenneth Young, Children’s Advocacy Center and Northwest Casa to ensure that our residents get the best possible help.”
While the Township serves both adults and children, Pross emphasizes the work her Department does with school-aged children in need of counseling, which has been consistently increasing. These are often children who are having conflicts with peers and teachers, or are exhibiting learning or behavioral difficulties. Pross adds that during the counseling process, other issues that are often related to the client’s family, can be discovered. “Once we more fully understand the problem and identify the underlying causes, we can work more effectively towards a solution,” Pross explained.
Pross added that children can be affected by stressors that their parents are experiencing. “Challenges, including economic and health problems, can cause anxiety in many parents, and that stress can actually transfer to their children.”
The Township counseling process begins with an intake appointment over the phone when a staff member asks questions to identify specific mental health needs. If the needs can be met by Township counselors, an in-person assessment is completed at the Elk Grove Township offices and counseling sessions are scheduled. If the needs are more specialized or psychiatric in nature, referrals can be made to Township agency partners. A valuable, new partnership the Township has established is with the Josselyn Center, which provides psychiatric services and is able to serve residents who are in need of medication.
All the mental health services provided are confidential and offered free of charge to Township residents. To learn more, please call the Township at 847-981-0373 and visit ElkGroveTownship.com to learn more about other services available to residents.