Last month, the city of Chicago and the Department of Public Health announced the expansion of no-barrier citywide mental health care services. PCC Community Wellness Center, a federally qualified health center, provides mental health services regardless of health insurance or immigration status in its health centers in Austin and the near west suburbs. Pregnant adults can receive prenatal care and specialized substance use treatment at West Suburban Medical Center, in addition to primary and mental healthcare services provided in 6 locations across Austin, Oak Park and Melrose Park.
Jerrard Walker, chief population health officer at PCC Community Wellness, said the COVID-19 pandemic increased the demand for behavioral health services in Austin. “We tend to see patients more frequently and we’re seeing them for a longer timeframe than prior to the pandemic.”
The trend aligns with studies showing the number of people needing therapy or counseling services increased as a result of the pandemic. In Illinois, in May of 2022, 14.4 of respondents in a National Center for Health Statistics online survey said they needed counseling or therapy but did not get it. In comparison, in April 2021, 8.8 percent of respondents in Illinois said they needed counseling or therapy but did not get it.
PCC offers psychotherapy and psychiatric care for people seeking behavioral health services regardless of immigration status or ability to pay.
“As a federally qualified healthcare center, PCC doesn’t refuse any patients regardless of citizenship status or insurance status,” Walker said, adding there is a sliding fee discount program based on total family income for individuals who do not have health insurance. Financial counselors are available on-site to help individuals understand the payments they will need to make or apply to Medicaid or Medicare if desired.
In psychotherapy or counseling, people can talk to a licensed therapist about emotional or social issues. Anyone seeking therapy may call the Austin Family Health Center at 773-378-3347 or walk in to request an appointment. To access psychotherapy services, they do not need to be enrolled in PCC’s primary care or be referred by an external primary medical provider.
Psychiatric care helps patients with mental health issues that require prescription and medication management, such as patients with schizophrenia or depression. To access these services, patients must first be evaluated by a primary care provider and referred to psychiatric care, provided by psychiatric nurse practitioners.
Substance use treatment is available for all individuals seeking help to reduce the use of heroin, prescription pain pills, alcohol, cigarettes and other substances. Treatment includes the prescription of safe medications to reduce chemical dependency, counseling and access to ongoing medical care. Pregnant patients can also receive specialized prescription treatment, prenatal care and pediatric care.
To receive substance use treatment, individuals can walk into the health centers at West Suburban Medical Center, Parkside Family Health Center or PCC Melrose Park Family Health Center to request an appointment. Alternatively, they can call 708-406-3929.
In or near Austin, PCC has four health centers:
- PCC Austin Family Health Center at 5425 W. Lake St., Chicago. To schedule an appointment, call 773-378-3347.
- PCC Parkside Family Health Center at 115 N. Parkside Ave., Chicago. To schedule an appointment, call 773-295-3060.
- PCC Lake Street at 14 Lake St, Oak Park. To schedule an appointment, call 708-383-0113.
- PCC Walk-In Wellness Center at West Suburban Medical Center at 1 Erie Court, Suite 7120. Call 708-406-3929 to schedule an appointment.
For emergencies or mental health crisis interventions, call 911.
For more information about citywide mental health providers, call 311 or NAMI Chicago at 833-626-4244.