2018 Mapping Project 

There are severe disparities to accessing high-quality long-term trauma-focused mental health services in Chicago's high economic hardship communities. Simply put, communities that are impacted by the highest level of trauma are afforded the least amount of access to care. 

In September of 2018, a team of six researchers undertook a systematic search of available therapists promoting services on various websites (psychologytoday.com, yellowpages.com, wellness.com, goodtherapy.org, and yelp) to determine the number of private practice licensed mental health clinicians listed for each zip code in the city of Chicago.

As highlighted in the Mental Health Provider map, zip codes with the highest ratios of licensed clinicians are predominantly concentrated in low economic hardship areas in the north and central regions of Chicago. For example, 60602 zip code, corresponding to affluent community areas in the center of the city, yielded the highest ratio in Chicago, with over 324 licensed clinicians per 1,000 individuals. In contrast, zip codes corresponding to high economic hardship community areas on Chicago’s west, southwest, and south sides consistently yielded less than 1 licensed clinician per 1,000 residents.

The highlighted Mental Health Provider map captures the disparities in mental health service access throughout the city of Chicago. In low economic hardship communities, licensed mental health clinicians are readily available to community residents whose insurance covers the cost of services or who have the financial means to pay the out of pocket cost. In contrast, within high economic hardship communities, there is a scarcity of private practice licensed mental health clinicians, thus placing increased demand on community-based organizations to address the mental health needs of community residents. These findings reinforce the data from the Collaborative for Community Wellness’ mental health needs assessment and point to the dire need for increased investment in long-term, trauma-focused mental health services in Chicago’s high economic hardship communities.

Summary of the findings of this analysis can be downloaded here 

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