Galesburg Council considers how to tackle community mental health challenges

Galesburg City Council’s Monday work session included listening and asking questions of various representatives of community agencies that deal with mental health.

Agencies included Bridgeway, CASA of West Central Illinois, Out of the Darkness, Foster’s Voice, and the Center for Youth and Family Solutions.

Stacey Brown with Bridgeway says that she has seen drastic improvements in collaborations among agencies in recent years.

Brown says the biggest assistance the city could give is to help communicate the importance of “asking for help and how can we work as a community to work and train everyone who lives here.”

Stephanie Brockett with CYFS advocated the City taking a more holistic approach to responding to mental health and believes a large community center could help.

Ward 4 Council member Dwight White said he noticed a common thread amongst the speakers was the need for the community to work together to solve these challenges.

Mayor Peter Schwartzman says he hopes the City can issue a press release soon that has relevant information and contact info for various services related to mental health.

Schwartzman says a goal of the session was to reduce stigmatization regarding mental health, as well as find out which populations are in greatest need and what ways can the City assist moving forward. 

He says it’s clear that “our youth, our military personnel, and our economically-challenged populations  (via poverty) are in the greatest need of support.”

Schwartzman also noted that several speakers spoke to the value of providing “positive environments for our youth and some even explicitly mentioned the role that a community center could play in this worthwhile endeavor.”

He’s hopeful this will encourage the “Council to continue its dedicated work to get a Community Center operating sooner than later. “