As Latino leaders and practitioners in healthcare in Chicago, we strongly support Mayor Lightfoot’s Framework for Mental Health Equity. It would extend services to our communities far more effectively than adding more City-run mental health clinics. Instead, the plan would leverage Chicago’s large network of nonprofit providers to help ensure everyone gets the care that’s right for them. A Latino individual or family—whether in Brighton Park, Little Village, Humboldt Park, the East Side, South Chicago, the North Side, or anywhere else—might not always have the same mental health needs as other groups. Trust is an especially critical issue in Latino communities, and some families that have built trust with providers in their neighborhoods would rather use integrated and enhanced services at those locations than try out new clinics run by the City. Other residents may need providers to come to them, outside of clinics. And many residents simply need better links to care, perhaps due to language barriers or because they haven’t received good information on where to go. The Lightfoot plan invests in meeting all of these needs, even as the core of the mental health budget remains City-run services. We urge the City Council to support this plan as part of the 2020 budget.

Mirna Ballestas, PsyD
Director, Under the Rainbow, Sinai Behavioral Health

Eddy Borrayo, MSW, CADC, MISA
President & CEO, Rincon Family Services

Esther Corpuz, BA
CEO, Alivio Medical Center

Evelyn Diaz, MA
President, Heartland Alliance

Ricardo Estrada, MA, MBA
President & CEO, Metropolitan Family Services

Marco Jacome, MA, LPC, CSADC, CEAP
CEO, Healthcare Alternative Systems (HAS)

Carolyn Lopez, MD
President, Chicago Board of Health

David Ernesto Munar, BA
President & CEO, Howard Brown Health

Esther Sciammarella, MS
Director, Chicago Hispanic Health Coalition

Modesto “Tico” Valle
CEO, Center on Halsted

Carmen Vergara, RN, MPH
Chief Operating Officer, Esperanza Health Centers