Thresholds statement on House tax plan passage

Financing a Tax Plan by Cutting Healthcare for Millions is Unacceptable and Immoral

US CongressAccess to affordable healthcare should be a basic human right.

Yet today the U.S. House of Representatives passed a tax plan which usurps that right – the bill will leave 13 million Americans without health coverage and looks to Medicaid and Medicare as a way to fund tax cuts. Cutting healthcare for millions to finance tax cuts is simply wrong.

Under the Affordable Care Act, more than 93% of Illinoisans have health coverage, an all-time high. This is historic progress toward ensuring that all people have access to comprehensive healthcare – but this tax bill puts all that progress at risk.

As communities across our state and nation battle a lethal opioid epidemic and mental health crisis, the passage of this tax bill undermines the ability of thousands of people to get the treatment they need to recover and get well. Now is not the time to curtail access to mental healthcare and substance use treatment; it is the time to increase it to address these crises.

We are deeply disappointed with the House’s irresponsible, short-sighted, and politically-motivated action. Our elected officials are charged with preserving and protecting the public’s health and well-being, not putting care out of reach for millions of Americans.

In spite of this set back, Thresholds remains committed to ensuring that all people have the healthcare they need to thrive. With our partners, we will continue to advocate for policies and programs that equip us all to lead full and healthy lives.

Media contact: Emily Moen, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, 773-572-5172

Statement from Thresholds, NAMI-Chicago, and The Kennedy Forum Illinois on withdrawn City countersuit in Quintonio LaGrier case

Our hearts go out to Quintonio LeGrier’s family. Their continued exposure to trauma surrounding his tragedy is incomprehensible. We are relieved that Mayor Emanuel retracted the law department’s proposed countersuit, which was ill-conceived, insensitive, and a terrible waste of resources. Instead, the City should be investing deeply in community mental health services, an issue we have all championed as part of the Mayor’s Citywide Mental Health Crisis Steering Committee.

The Kennedy Forum Illinois

Thresholds Veterans Project Assists Chicago Veterans with Mental Health, Housing

The Thresholds Veteran Project

This Veterans Day, we salute those who have served our country. The Thresholds Veterans Project employs veterans who serve their peers, giving our Chicago-area veterans the care and resources they need to recover from mental illness, PTSD, and traumatic brain injury.

Approximately 11% of the entire population in the United States are veterans experiencing homelessness. Of that population, 50% are also living with a serious mental illness, and 70% are struggling with a substance use disorder.

The Thresholds Veterans Project can help. Integrating our award-winning, evidence-based practices and strategic partnerships, the Veterans Project includes homeless outreach, housing services, supported employment, peer-driven supports, substance abuse treatment, integrated physical and mental health services, and trauma-based therapies

Last year, they successfully provided 81% of clients with permanent housing. An estimated 70% of clients in the Veterans Project with a substance use disorder reported a “positive change in use” in the last 12 months.

Thresholds is proud to serve more than 300 veterans through our Veterans Project – a number that continues to increase each year. We believe in serving those who have served us, and that everyone deserves to live their fullest lives, regardless of their past experiences; and we know that recovery is possible!

Lisa’s Story

After returning from the military, veteran Lisa* did not have anywhere to go. She was pregnant, living in her car, and living with a mental illness. As a survivor of sexual trauma, she was feeling lost and hopeless for her future. Then she found Thresholds. Within a week’s time, she became a client of the Thresholds Veterans Project, received the support she was missing, and a home of her very own. Lisa is now open to receive the recovery treatment and services she needs.

As a senior veteran, Lisa was having a hard time managing her mental illness and substance use disorder on her own. Since coming to Thresholds, she has received supports such as housing, money management, medication education, and treatment services unique to her needs. She is a frequent participant in the Thresholds Veterans Project program and activities, and her quality of life has greatly improved.

Support the Thresholds Veterans Project

If you would like to financially support the Veterans Project, please visit our donation page. If you are a veteran from any war having a hard time coping with your mental illness, trauma, or issues such as homelessness, substance abuse, etc., please contact Fernando Valles, Director of the Veterans Project, at (773) 537-3154.

*Name changed per client request

Thresholds Named Chicago Tribune Top Workplace for Fourth Consecutive Year

Today, the Chicago Tribune announced its list of the top 125 workplaces in Chicago and for the fourth time in a row, Thresholds is on the list. Thresholds is ranked #22 out of large employers with more than 1,000 employees.

This award is a strong testament to our staff’s culture of caring and support, both for our clients and for each other. Every day, they are working hard in often challenging circumstances to promote recovery for persons with serious mental illnesses and substance use conditions.

The top workplaces in Chicago are evaluated based on feedback from employee surveys conducted by Energage that measured key qualities such as company leadership, communication, career opportunities, working environment, managerial skills, pay, and benefits.

“This award means so much to Thresholds because it showcases our incredible staff, who work tirelessly in pursuit of our mission to help people with mental illnesses and substance use conditions. We could not succeed without our incredibly dedicated and talented workforce,” says Mark Ishaug, CEO of Thresholds.

“The Chicago Tribune has been part of the economic vibrancy of Chicago for 170 years,” said Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Bruce Dold. “We are proud to recognize those companies that stand out for their commitment to their employees and the community.”

Thresholds joined fellow honorees and more than 700 Chicago executives at the Top Workplaces 2017 event on November 9 to celebrate their accomplishments.

To join our team, visit our jobs board.

Donor Spotlight: Janssen Pharmaceuticals

Donor Spotlight: Janssen Pharmaceuticals

Janssen Pharmaceuticals is committed to providing safe and effective medicines and the services and supports that contribute to healthy outcomes. Since 2014, Janssen has been a generous supporter of Thresholds, most recently funding our innovative MindStrong program.

Thresholds’ MindStrong program provides early intervention services to young adults, ages 15-30, with a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who are experiencing first episode psychosis. Dedicated to providing the right supports at the earliest signs of need, MindStrong uses rapid assessment and individualized care planning to address the effects of psychosis on school, work, relationships, independence, and identity development.

MindStrong gives individuals experiencing first episode psychosis the supports needed for a hopeful, successful recovery. We are grateful to Janssen Pharmaceuticals for their generosity – for believing in our work and in the individuals we serve.

President’s Opioid Plan Must Go Further

Last week, President Trump declared the deadly opioid crisis plaguing communities across the nation a public health emergency. We commend the President for shining a spotlight on this epidemic. Opioid addiction has skyrocketed in recent years and tragically so too have the related overdoses and deaths.

The President highlighted his plans for addressing this critical issue which included lifting regulations that have historically posed barriers to accessing treatment. While this is an important step in the right direction, notably absent was the mention of any new investment in prevention or treatment. This is an unfortunate missed opportunity – without a substantial investment in addiction treatment, as well as related mental health treatment, the epidemic will continue to rage unabated.

Current federal investment in strengthening the access to treatment made possible through the bi-partisan 21st Century Cures Act comes to an end next year. Meanwhile, Congress, with the support of the President, has continued to push for repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and catastrophic cuts to Medicaid – a primary source of health coverage for many living with substance use conditions and associated mental health conditions. Hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans with these conditions have gained access to treatment because of the ACA and Medicaid. Misguided attempts to dismantle the ACA and cut Medicaid threaten access to the very life-saving treatment that is needed to stem this epidemic.

We urge the President to build on his commitment to fighting the opioid epidemic by calling for investment in evidence-informed prevention and community-based treatment, ending attacks on the ACA and Medicaid, and promoting improved coverage for treatment.

The reality is the battling the opioid crisis will take time and significant investment at the national and state levels. By the President’s own account, no community has been spared – both rural and urban, rich and poor alike have been devastated by opioid addiction. While recognizing the severity of the problem and removing administrative barriers to accessing treatment are important first steps, much more is needed.

Yusuf’s Story

Yusuf’s Story

Before finding Thresholds, Yusuf struggled with an untreated mental illness and substance use disorders that left him living on the streets and eventually institutionalized. “I didn’t know how much it affected me because I didn’t know the difference,” Yusuf said, “I was out of touch with reality.” In 2009, Yusuf was transferred to a Thresholds ACT team, a service that provides intensive support to ensure clients are able to take the first steps toward recovery.

Photo of Thresholds member Yusef and his cat

For Yusuf, having a safe and stable place to live was the key to his recovery. After he began receiving Thresholds’  services, he was able to secure housing and, with hard work and dedication, reclaim his life. “Now I have something to lose and if I mess up now, I won’t live long enough to turn it back around.”

Today, Yusuf is a proud mental health advocate and self-proclaimed stay-at-home cat dad. He spends his time reading and providing support to other Thresholds clients. “That’s how someone reached me, with their story,” Yusuf said, “I feel I can share my story to help others.”

Yusuf has used Thresholds’ services to create a fulfilling life that he’s proud of and completed his home with the addition of his cat, Patti, who has also become part of his support system. “Having my pet has really helped me in my recovery. It has helped me to care and love other life,” he said, “I wouldn’t be where I am without her.”

Thresholds to Open New Service Center

Thresholds to Open New Service Center

This fall, Thresholds will open our new Service Center that will serve as a single point of entry for all inquiries related to clinical, business, and operational services.

A licensed clinician (LCSW) will supervise the department to ensure quality control, providing feedback and intervention for questions and situations requiring clinical expertise – particularly in times of crisis. When possible, the Service Center will also screen and route individuals, centralizing the scheduling process for referrals. Implementing this system will allow Thresholds staff to respond faster to general inquiries and calls, and make necessary linkages throughout the agency in a more thoughtful and efficient manner.

All of this is made possible through generous grants from the Otho S.A. Sprague Memorial Institute and the Michael Reese Health Trust, who have donated $285,000 and $200,000 respectively.

Beginning October 2, 2017, all calls will be routed through the Service Center at (773) 572-5500.

Donor Spotlight: Hoellen Family Foundation

Donor Spotlight: Hoellen Family Foundation

This month, Thresholds is pleased to feature the Hoellen Family Foundation. For the past three years, the Hoellen Family Foundation has been a generous supporter of Thresholds’ fully accredited secondary education program, the Loren E. Juhl School.

Founded in 1974, the Loren E. Juhl School serves young adults (ages 16 – 21) with complex mental health needs. A trusted referral partner of the Chicago Public School system, Juhl School has a 20-25 student enrollment and boasts 5-to-1 teacher-to-student ratios. Students of Loren E. Juhl also have access to the full range of services provided by Thresholds’ innovative Young Adult Program (YAP), including: housing support and placement, vocational and educational services, access to individual and group therapies, and psychiatric and primary healthcare.

The Hoellen Family Foundation has been a great partner to Loren E. Juhl School, most recently funding a much-needed update to the school’s computer lab. With their support, students of Loren E. Juhl received the technological resources needed to stay on track with their education. Thank you for believing in the students we serve!

Recent Senate Healthcare Actions Are Outrageous

Thresholds Statement: Senate Bills to Repeal and Replace Affordable Care Act Threaten Access to Care for Millions Living With Mental Health and Substance Use Conditions

Chicago, IL – Yesterday, the Senate took a procedural vote to begin debate on healthcare repeal, moving us one step closer to gutting the protections of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and making drastic cuts to Medicaid. This is outrageous. Though there have been several versions of the bill and countless amendments, all have one thing in common – they are catastrophic for access to mental health and substance use treatment.

These efforts amount to little more than taking away health coverage from millions of people and slashing hundreds of billions from Medicaid, the primary payer of mental health and substance use treatment. We thank Senators Durbin and Duckworth who stood strong for Illinoisans and voted no.

Roughly 1 million Illinoisans have gained coverage under the ACA, and nearly 348,000 of them are living with a mental health or substance use condition. The ACA was a game changer for American healthcare.

  • Medicaid Expansion extended coverage to 650,000 low income Illinoisans who were previously uninsured.
  • Essential Health Benefits made sure that mental health and substance use treatment and medication are healthcare services all plans must cover.
  • Protections for those with pre-existing conditions ensure that people living with mental health or substance use conditions won’t be denied coverage.
  • Removing lifetime maximums helped those struggling with chronic health conditions – including mental illness and addiction – maintain access to care.

These changes were huge steps in the right direction, and that’s why we are fighting so hard. Repeal efforts aim to turn back the clock on the assurances and coverage gained through the ACA, but they go even further by piling on enormous Medicaid cuts and caps. This is totally unacceptable.

This fight is not over. We must keep pushing back and stay focused on what’s really at stake – people’s ability to live their fullest, healthiest lives. We will keep you updated as the process unfolds and we look forward to working alongside you in support of home, health, and hope.

Mark Ishaug CEO – Thresholds
Press Contact: Emily Moen, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, 773-572-5172