United we fight for everyone in our community to have access to quality, affordable physical and mental healthcare.
As the Illinois state government has grappled with the state budget, our community has dealt with limited and unstable access to mental health services. This has been a persistent issue that ultimately causes more harm the longer it goes unaddressed. The assessed cost of untreated mental health conditions is a whopping $100 billion a year in the United States! United Way of Champaign County has advocated persistently and continues to fight for the health of every person in our community by funding various programs and services.
Champaign County has witnessed how loss of funding has the ability to create a large hole in our community’s behavioral health services. Mental health conditions can affect anyone, anywhere, at anytime. In 2016, United Way partnered with local mental health providers after state funding changed and three fourths of the funding that was once provided by the state was cut. Through community collaboration, it was possible to avoid many members of our community losing access to behavioral health services.
Nancy Greenwalt, Promise Health Care Executive Director recognized how much Champaign County would have been affected. “To lose access to your physiatrist and access to the medications that are keeping you healthy, it would have been devastating,” she said.
Through community teamwork and a seamless transition of services, 1,200 community members were able to maintain a sense of normalcy and stability. “Patients can still go to the clinic that they were going to, see their physiatrist and nurse and get the care that they are used to and that they need,” said Nancy Greenwalt.
United Way believes behavioral health services are many-sided and should be accessible to the entire community. Unmet mental health needs can lead to other issues such as homelessness, poor physical health, substance abuse or suicide. Without access to these services, community members often cycle in and out of emergency rooms or the criminal justice system. In Champaign County, thanks to a community effort, mental health services were saved for over 1,200 people in our community.