The Chicago Dawoodi Bohra Community is pleased to announce the successful completion of its impactful roundtable discussion focused on youth mental health in partnership with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Saifee Burhani Medical Association – America. The event, held on May 24 2023, provided a platform for professionals and community members to engage in thoughtful discussions and share their experiences, aimed at addressing the pressing issue of youth mental health.
The evening commenced with a compelling keynote address by IDPH Director Sameer Vohra, MD/JD, who highlighted essential programs for youth and parents. Dr. Vohra emphasized the significance of the recently introduced 988 and 211 helpline numbers, offering vital support and resources for those in need. He also underscored the importance of increasing the availability of school-based health centers as critical entities in providing accessible mental health care to students.
Dr. Dana Weiner, Chief Officer overseeing Governor JB Pritzker’s Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation provided a comprehensive overview of the Governor’s program. She outlined the current state of affairs and presented a vision to develop a stronger, more integrated program to effectively support the well-being of our youth.
The event successfully gathered professionals from various fields, including healthcare administration, psychiatry, schools, faith-based communities, and more, for a roundtable discussion, which focused on identifying existing resources, overcoming obstacles, and bridging gaps in mental health services for youth. Participants had the opportunity to actively discuss the topics at hand, encouraging a collaborative exchange of ideas and insights. What particularly impressed attendees was the inclusion of students, as their perspective was considered vital to the discussions on youth mental health. The event also took a moment to remember the victims of the Uvalde school shooting on its first anniversary, emphasizing the importance of fostering a safe and nurturing environment for our youth.
Kate Kokenes, a social worker from Hinsdale South High School, District 86, praised the event, stating, “I was inspired by the speakers and wished that more of my fellow colleagues could have been present to listen to their insightful perspectives. The event was an amazing opportunity to connect with colleagues who are passionately working towards addressing this vast problem.”
Mila Tsagalis, Director of Community Initiatives from Dupage Health Department wrote, “The presentations and table discussions gave us much to think about and also to look forward to in our work toward youth mental health. We would also like to thank the Saifee Burhani Medical Association and our gracious hosts Dawoodi Bohras for the wonderful food and beautiful venue.”
The Chicago Dawoodi Bohra Community extends its heartfelt appreciation to all the attendees and supporters who made the evening truly memorable. Moving forward, the plan is to collaborate with the facilitators to compile a comprehensive report that captures the key takeaways from the conference. This report will serve as a valuable resource for ongoing efforts to address youth mental health. Additionally, small groups will be formed to work on specific tasks and initiatives identified during the event, ensuring that the momentum and impact of the conference extend beyond its conclusion. Together, we can make a positive difference in the lives of our youth.