Our Chicago: Mental Health Awareness Month

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Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Our Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that one in five adults in the U.S. experience mental illness each year.

Among children ages 6 to 17, that number is one in six.

And the the last year has been especially difficult with the pandemic, the racial reckoning, violence against Asian Americans and here in Chicago, the recent release of video from two deadly police shootings.

WATCH: Our Chicago, Part 1

A survey in December by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention found that 42% of people who responded reported anxiety or symptoms of depression.

Dr. Inger Burnett-Zeigler, a clinical psychologist and associate professor in the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University advises, "I think it's important for us to acknowledge that this is hard. It's hard to watch and it's having a real and tangible impact not only on our minds but also our bodies. We need to validate those experiences, not try to push them away."

WATCH: Our Chicago, Part 2

As we begin Mental Health Awareness Month, we're talking with Dr. Burnett-Zeigler and Mark Ishaug the CEO of Thresholds, Illinois' largest community mental health organization. They're one of the providers for the statewide program Call 4 Calm.

"So this system allows people who experiencing depression, anxiety. In fact, people who are experiencing food insecurity or homelessness can text this number you can text "Talk" to 552020 or "Hablar" to 552020, and someone will get back to you in 24 hours, and link you to care, link you to a counselor or link you to appropriate services," Ishaug said.