Depression 1775674

New data portal shows suburban health outcomes

Last month, Cook County health officials announced they had launched a new, publicly available data portal called the Cook County Health Atlas.

The data shows that nearly 1 in 5 adults in Oak Park and River Forest live with depression. The relationship is similar in Cook County. The data also show that about 24 percent of adults in Oak Park and River Forest reported binge drinking, defined as having at least five drinks for men and four drinks for women on occasion within the past month. This is slightly higher than the 22 percent reported across the country. The data is from 2019, before the pandemic.

In Oak Park, the drug overdose death rate from 2013 to 2017 was 12 people per 100,000. The portal did not have similar data for River Forest.

On Oct. 26, Cook County officials announced they will award $14 million in grants over four years to expand mental health and substance abuse prevention, treatment and support in the suburbs.

Grants will range from $250,000 to more than $1 million each, and are part of the Building Healthy Communities Behavioral Health Initiative, which is funded under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), officials said.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to the well-being of all Cook County residents,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement. “This investment in behavioral health as part of our Building Health Communities initiative ensures that we take a holistic approach to health care that prioritizes mental health, as well as physical health.”

Applications for the grants are now being accepted until December 7 and awards will be announced in January. For more information and to apply online, visit: cookcountypublichealth.org/bhcopencall/

County officials said Oct. 12 that the new Health Atlas allows “residents, community organizations, policymakers, researchers and public health stakeholders” access to neighborhood-level health data from more than 120 suburbs in Cook County.

“In the Health Atlas, users can look at more than 100 indicators of health, and see them visualized in maps, charts, graphs and tables of health-related data that matter to them,” they added.

The public data spans six categories, including health outcomes, health behaviors, health care, demographics, socioeconomic status and physical environment, officials said.

The Cook County Public Health Department developed the Health Atlas in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health (UIC SPH) and Metopio, a data, analytics and visualization platform.

CONTACT: michael@austinweeklynews.com

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