The Section of Community Behavioral Health was established in 2017 by Rush University Medical Center to increase access to mental and behavioral health care and provide training in evidence-based practices to underserved communities. Through the West Side Behavioral Health Initiative, Rush collaborates with local health care institutions, churches, community groups, businesses and foundations to develop new strategies to address community-based mental health and wellness on the West Side.

Rush University Medical Center tower

Community Behavioral Health provides mental and behavioral health care in collaboration with community health care and social service organizations.

Rush Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences faculty

The faculty and staff of Community Behavioral Health are drawn from psychiatry, medicine, social work, nursing and psychology.

Community Psychiatry fellows

Fellowship programs include a collaborative care team focusing on depression, trauma and substance use screening and intervention.

Young patient with a physician

Community Behavioral Health has active training grants from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association, ChicagoTM, ACCELERAT Program at Northwestern University, Nathanson Family Resilience Center at UCLA AIDS Institute and more.

Bus on a city street

Faculty and staff partner with clinics across the Rush Health system and have also established collaborations with the Medical Home Network, The Night Ministry, several school-based health clinics and other community initiatives.

Creating a New Model of Mental Health Care

Community Behavioral Health encompasses both the care of the individual person who has complex health needs but limited resources and the broader challenges of communities with underserved populations who receive mental health care primarily in the public sector.

The goal of Community Behavioral Health is to provide increased mental and behavioral health services by reducing the systemic inequities caused by social, economic and environmental determinates to health and the delivery of health care services.

Community Behavioral Health practitioners work closely with other health care institutions, government agencies, businesses and community-based organizations including school-based health centers, faith-based charities and advocacy groups to develop systems of care that optimize public and private mental health care.

Building a healthier community requires increased access to screening, risk prevention education, evidence-based intervention and referrals to clinical services for high-risk populations. Community Behavioral Health practitioners therefore focus on the managerial skills most effective in navigating public mental health services and the collaborative skills that the psychiatrist must possess to make those services work well.

To impact mental health in the neighborhoods, Community Behavioral Health takes a multi-faceted approach that includes building resilience, supporting community partners through education and training in evidence-based treatment, providing clinical services and participating in clinical research.