Chicago's Public Health Department received a $1 million federal grant Tuesday "to address trauma in Chicago's neighborhoods and improve crisis intervention training for first responders," according to an announcement.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Health Department Commissioner Julie Morita announced the grant.
The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma (ReCAST) grant program. According to the mayor's office, the grant program "supports violence prevention and community youth engagement programs as well as access to mental health services, and is renewable for five years."
As a result of the funding, over 15,000 individuals in Chicago will be trained or served through the first year of the grant, city officials said.
"Investments in addressing trauma and mental health issues will help foster stronger, healthier and more resilient communities throughout Chicago," Emanuel said in a statement. "This federal funding is a welcome addition to our ongoing efforts to strengthen youth and community engagement, increase access to behavioral health services and enhance the training of first responders on mental health related issues and interactions with individuals in mental health crisis."
According to the mayor's office, the federal grant will support the following activities:
* Establish a Chicago ReCAST (Resiliency in Communities After Stress and Trauma), Institute to design and deliver trauma-informed training to staff from City agencies and partners organizations as well as residents, building greater capacity in neighborhoods most impacted by violence on how to identify, respond and support recovery from to various forms of trauma.
* Expand the Chicago Police Department's Crisis Intervention Team training, mental health awareness training for Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) call takers and dispatchers, a public awareness campaign to reduce mental health stigma and public awareness of CIT and other resources. As a result, more than 12,000 Chicago police officers and all OEMC 911 call takers and dispatchers will receive basic mental health and trauma training.
* Support, train and link leaders from communities most vulnerable to civil unrest to ensure local involvement and feedback in citywide transformation efforts.
* Implement, launch and promote Chicago Connects, a comprehensive resource directory, crisis text line and web application to improve community organizations' and residents' access to necessary services.
The grant comes as Chicago faces spiking levels of violence. Thus far in 2016, Chicago has recorded over 500 homicides and 3,000 shootings.
"For every family that has tragically lost a loved one to gun violence, there are many more living with its emotional and psychological consequences. We must work together to stop this senseless violence and ensure that all victims - including those whose scars may not be visible - get the help they need," Durbin said. "I thank our dedicated community partners, without whom we cannot achieve our goal of a safer city, and I will continue to work alongside Mayor Emanuel to find solutions that provide much-needed relief to the Chicago communities most plagued by violence.