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Posted on: June 28, 2023

Mayor and Chairman Establish Behavioral Health Advisory Group

behavioral health

Today, Mayor Tom McNamara and Winnebago County Board Chairman Joe Chiarelli announced the creation of an Advisory Group to address behavioral health issues in our community. Since the closing of the Singer Mental Health Center in 2012, the community has suffered from an overall lack of mental health providers and facilities. 

“The behavioral health needs that exist, coupled with the lack of clinical resources to adequately address the issues, have a far-reaching and negative impact on the overall health of our residents and our community,” says Mayor McNamara. “If we’re able to solve this issue, not only is it the right thing to do for our residents, but we could also see improvement in education, employment, job growth and quality of life for residents throughout the county.”

Winnebago county ranks in the bottom quartile of counties in Illinois in health outcomes (quality and length of life), according to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The study also found that behavioral health issues disproportionately impact Winnebago residents: 

  • 27% of resident respondents identified as having a behavioral health disorder; national average is 20%.
  • Drug overdose deaths are 49 per 100,000 in Winnebago County; Illinois average is 24 per 100,000 and national average is 23 per 100,000.

The Advisory Group includes representatives from the following organizations:

  • City of Rockford
  • Community Foundation of Northern Illinois
  • Crusader Community Health
  • Mercyhealth
  • UI Health Mile Square Health Center 
  • NAMI
  • OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center
  • Rockford Fire
  • Rockford Public Schools
  • Rockford Regional Health Council 
  • Rosecrance
  • University of Illinois College of Medicine - Rockford
  • UW Health
  • Winnebago County 
  • Winnebago County Mental Health Board/ Region 1 Planning Council

The group is now tasked with vetting and defining the far-reaching problem, organizing and defining solutions, and then implementing a plan that provides a long term, sustainable solution to meet the behavioral health needs of our community. 


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