Mental Health Skills-Building Trainings

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Mental Health Skills-Building Trainings

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Find Mental Health Care

To find support near you, visit the City's UnSpoken page. You can also call the National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago Helpline at 833-626-4244 (833-NAMI-CHI) or the City of Chicago Domestic Violence Helpline at 1-877-863-6338.  The Illinois Department of Human Services has also launched the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. For more information review these factsheets: 988 Factsheets English | Spanish. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of harm, please call 911.

The impacts of gun violence extend beyond the immediate victim to family members, friends, neighbors, and other community members. Efforts to reduce the effects of community violence on individuals include education about the prevalence of toxic stress and protective benefits of strengthening relationships between community members, including youth, impacted by violence and trauma.

Mental Health Skills-Building Trainings for Community Leaders

As part of our trauma-informed response to violence reduction, the CSCC brought mental health skills-building trainings to communities most impacted by violence this summer. Each learning cohort educated and supported persons across programs and organizations who were most likely to encounter those who have experienced the impacts of community violence. Over the summer of 2022, we trained ten separate cohorts with over 250 individuals in total.

Trauma-Informed Care involves five key universal elements: SAMHSA’s 4R’s and a 5th-R (resilience) developed through local partners. 

  • Realizing the prevalence of trauma. 
  • Recognizing how trauma affects all individuals, communities, organizations, and systems.
  • Responding by putting this knowledge into practice. 
  • Resisting retraumatization.
  • Restoring resilience by supporting healing for all. 
  • Trauma Understanding: Through knowledge and understanding of trauma and stress, we can act compassionately and take well-informed steps towards wellness.
  • Safety & Security: Increasing stability in our lives and having core physical and emotional safety needs met can minimize our stress reactions and allow us to focus on wellness.
  • Cultural Humility & Responsiveness: When we are open to understanding cultural differences and respond to them sensitively, we make each other feel understood and wellness is enhanced.
  • Compassion & Dependability: When we experience compassionate and dependable relationships, we re-establish trusting connections with others that fosters mutual wellness.
  • Collaboration& Empowerment: When we are prepared for and given real opportunities to make choices for our care, and ourselves we feel empowered and can promote our own wellness.
  • Resilience & Recovery: When we focus on strengths and develop clear steps we can take toward wellness, we are more likely to be resilient and recover.

Participants included street outreach workers, victim services providers, faith leaders, mentoring and youth serving staff, hospital personnel, community members, Chicago Public Library staff, substance use and mental health providers, domestic violence agencies, educators, Chicago Police Department officers and staff, and community-based organizations.

Participants learned strategies to build relationships, create trust and psychological safety, and learned to use evidenced-based activities to help manage stress and emotional dysregulation. Each training cohort convened in-person for 4 two-hour sessions at a location within the community area of focus. The hyperlocal focus and inclusive nature of the trainings helped equip diverse traditional and non-traditional service providers – both with or without specialized mental health credentials – and provided a unique opportunity to address mental health concerns on a community level.

Symposium on Trauma-Informed Response to Violence

In March 2022, the CSCC, in partnership with CDPH, held a Symposium on Trauma-Informed Response to Violence. The Symposium addressed the intersection of Mental Health, Substance Use, and Violence, with a specific focus on increasing access to mental health and substance use services for individuals at high risk of violence. The event convened mental health, substance use, and violence prevention providers, as well as community leaders and CSCC partners who provide direct service and implement programs. Participants engaged in collective group discussions, break-out sessions, and healing exercises led by Lotus Love Spirit Healing and the Center for Healing and Justice through Sport that included harm reduction techniques, trauma-informed training, action plans for innovative service delivery models, and wellness activities to emphasize self-care.