3/12/21 - A Message to Providers from Secretary Hou: IDHS Launches Crisis Counseling Program to Support Communities Hardest Hit by COVID-19

Dear Partners,

Following the federal declaration of major disaster areas in Illinois due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Division of Mental Health applied for and was awarded a FEMA Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program, entitled Illinois-Strong.

This unique program provides community-based teams to meet directly with individuals who are negatively impacted by COVID-19 to conduct an individual crisis counseling session. The program focuses on helping disaster survivors understand their reactions, review their options, and connect with other individuals and agencies that may assist them in improving their situations. Staff members who provide individual crisis counseling are active listeners who offer reassurance, practical assistance, psycho-education, and emotional support, while teaching behavioral techniques for coping with stress.

The counties of Cook, Winnebago, and St. Clair have continued to be disproportionately impacted due to COVID-19. Illinois-Strong will continue to offer disaster-related relief services to individuals identified through individual and group interactions. For additional information, please visit: Illinois-Strong.org for more information on this program.



Grace B. Hou

Secretary, IDHS