Where people are born, grow, live, work and age has a profound impact on their mental health and overall well-being. For example:
- Children exposed to community violence exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Abandoned housing provokes anxiety and stress among nearby residents.
- Mass unemployment is associated with high rates of depression.
- Mass incarceration has pervasive effects on communities, economy, and families.
Violence, housing quality, employment status, crime prevention, and opportunity for positive societal reintegration after incarceration are all among the many social determinants of mental health and well-being that impact urban communities.
More than 60 Chicago community and philanthropic leaders and activists joined Illinois State Sen. Mattie Hunter and the Adler School today to examine these determinants and approaches to improving them in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, at a “Summit on Proven Approaches for Action Improving Community Well-Being.”
The Adler School has an established record working with the Englewood communitiy. For the last six years, the Adler School’s Institutes for Social Change and its Art Therapy Department have worked with residents there and in other underserved Chicago communities, along with public service providers and community-based organizations to address issues ranging from youth violence to women’s empowerment.
At the summit, Adler School President Raymond Crossman, Ph.D., and Sen. Hunter began the day summarizing the issues and need. “Collaboration is necessary for social change,” Crossman said. “Everyone here has a stake in collaboration.”
Hunter reaffirmed Crossman’s remarks, describing how community groups and agencies, residents, elected officials, businesses and philanthropic organizations must come together in collaborative efforts to improve the Englewood neighborhood. “We need to form a public-private partnership,” she said.
Lynn Todman, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Adler School Institute on Social Exclusion (ISE); Elena Quintana, Ph.D., Executive Director of the School’s Institute on Public Safety and Social Justice (IPSSJ); and Dan Cooper, M.S., M.U.P.P., IPSSJ Assistant Director, presented research and statistics on the challenges faced by Englewood residents.
For example, the average vacant housing rate in Englewood is 25 percent, compared to 7 percent for the city of Chicago. And through November 2011, 56 of Chicago’s 419 homicides during the year took place in Englewood.
Joining Crossman and Sen. Hunter in leading discussion were School partners and panelists:
- Anthony Lowery, Safer Foundation
- Jacque Conway, Teamwork Englewood
- Asiaha Butler, Resident Association of Greater Englewood
- Randell Strickland, moderator, Chicago Area Project
The audience examined Englewood’s challenges and what is needed to bring about changes in the community. Among the challenges identified were lack of trust and a code of silence among residents, feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness, and the way the neighborhood is divided up by Chicago’s aldermanic wards.
The summit, hosted by the Adler School and Sen. Hunter, is a first step in developing a collaborative effort to improve the community wellness in Englewood.
About the Adler School of Professional Psychology
The Adler School of Professional Psychology has provided quality education through a Scholar/Practitioner model for more than 50 years. The School’s mission is to train socially responsible graduates who continue the visionary work of Alfred Adler throughout the world. The Adler School offers 13 graduate-level programs enrolling more than 1,000 students at its campuses in Chicago and Vancouver, British Columbia, and through Adler Online.
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