Community Resources

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Health Insurance

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To enroll in a health insurance plan, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/get-coverage/. Here, you can create an account and apply.

To check if you are eligible for marketplace health insurance, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/quick-guide/eligibility/.

Free Clinics

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If you are ineligible and unable to afford health insurance, check out this list of free health clinics. Select your state and read about the various free clinics that might be available to you.

CommunityHealth Chicago is the largest free health clinic in the nation, providing free services to uninsured patients for 27 years. CommunityHealth operates by utilizing volunteer providers that work at some of Chicago’s top quality health care settings. The clinic offers various services, including:

  • Primary care (including basic wellness exams, vaccinations, and preventative screenings)
  • Dental
  • Specialty and diagnostic (such as cardiology, neurology, physical therapy, gynecology, urology, and much more)
  • Health education classes
  • Counseling and support groups (including nutrition, smoking cessation, women’s art therapy, diabetes management therapy, and medication management therapy)
  • Check out their website for more info on what services are provided http://www.communityhealth.org/
  • The clinic utilizes several interpreters to meet the needs of Spanish and Polish-speaking patients

CommunityHealth Clinic is located at 2611 W Chicago Ave., Chicago IL, 60622

If you are uninsured and meet CommunityHealth guidelines, you may register to receive services at CommunityHealth. Check out this link http://www.communityhealth.org/do-i-qualify/#.X7Qx99NKi1Q to see if you can become a patient.

Immigrants & Refugees

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  • Asian Human Services (AHS) is an organization dedicated to providing personalized support and services to underserved immigrants and refugees across Chicagoland. 
  • Community health services are offered at AHS through a variety of programs, including:
    • HIV/AIDS prevention and care programs
    • Disability and vocational services
    • School-based violence protection
    • Smoking cessation
    • Obesity prevention & healthy living
    • Immunization campaigns
    • Breast & cervical cancer prevention
  • For more information on Asian Human Services, check out their website: https://www.ahschicago.org/

  • AHS also offers Behavioral Health services to meet diverse needs of Asian immigrants and refugees and other underserved communities. The goal is to provide culturally sensitive emotional and social services to help integrate people into mainstream society.
  • AHS Community and Behavioral Health services are located at 4753 North Broadway, Suite 700, Chicago, IL 60640.
  • For more information on Asian Human Services, check out their website: https://www.ahschicago.org/

Non-Binary & LGBTQ+

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  • Howard Brown Health is an organization that focuses on providing health care for people within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community in several areas throughout the city of Chicago.
  • They are one of the largest health care and research organizations primarily caring for the LGBTQ community in the United States.
  • In addition to healthcare, they also provide a variety of services that include housing, jobs, food, education and more through the Broadway Youth Center and Brown Elephant Resale Shops, which Howard Brown owns.
  • They have 12 clinic locations across Chicago in the South/West/North sides and provide both COVID-19 and Telehealth services.
  • Find more information at: https://howardbrown.org/

  • Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s largest community center dedicated to providing a safe environment with health and wellness programs to LGBTQ+ people, including
    • HIV/AIDs and STD testing
    • Behavioral health therapy
    • Anti-violence project
    • Art gallery
    • Cyber center (provides internet access and technology training to its community members)
    • Senior meal plan and social programs
    • Recreational classes and sports such as cooking and volleyball
    • Bisexual & transgender programs
    • Women’s programs
    • GED programming and career development
  • Check out the Center on Halsted’s website here: https://www.centeronhalsted.org/. They also offer regular events geared towards specific areas of interest, such as mental health, cultural, transgender, youth, women, family, and more.
  • The Center on Halsted is located at 3656 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60613

Smoking Cessation

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The quitSTART app is a free smartphone app that helps you quit smoking with individualized tips, motivation, and challenges. 

Learn about smoking cessation medications here https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/quit-smoking-medications/index.html

Sign up for free texts: To sign up, text QUIT to 47848 or sign up using the form on this website: https://smokefree.gov/tools-tips/text-programs/quit-for-good/smokefreetxt?s_cid=OSH_tips_D9402

  • The Respiratory Health Association’s Courage to Quit (this is an adult tobacco cessation program that offers information, skill-building and support to help participants achieve their smoke-free goals).  
  • The University of Chicago Medicine offers Chicago Stop Smoking Research Project (C-STOP). This is a clinical trial examining stop smoking methods for people who are regular alcohol drinkers.   
  • BecomeAnEx.org; this is a free online program that helps individuals re-learn what life without smoking is like. It provides participants with personalized quit plans and support from other smokers and ex-smokers. 
  • Illinois Tobacco Quitline; this is a statewide telephone helpline that is staffed by trained counselors who can provide you with information about quitting and can work with you to develop a quit smoking plan that’s customized to your needs.
  • UChicago Medicine’s Courage to Quit (CTQ) program, which offers an individualized and comprehensive approach to helping participants overcome nicotine addiction and quit smoking within 2-3 sessions

Chronic Illness Support

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  • When finding a support group to join, begin by asking your primary care physician or mental health professional. These health providers may be able to direct you towards support groups within your area and more specifically to those groups that are organized around a particular topic/illness (I.e., support groups for people with diabetes).  
  • Another place to start when looking for a support group is Support Groups Central. Here you will find a curated list of support groups from other organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Health. On this website, you can also search for groups by topics such as depression, addiction and chronic illness.  When you’ve chosen your topic, you can see a curated list of meetings by title, date & time, the organization holding the meeting and whether or not the meeting is free. 
  • In the event, that you prefer not to attend support groups in person, there are also online support groups. These can be especially helpful if you find that there are no support groups in your immediate area. 

One such avenue is the app, Wisdo which allows you to join specific themed communities to discuss anything at any time with a variety of different people. Here, you can find or create communities for any topic that you would like support for. Within the app, you can also set goals for yourself and flag yourself as a potential “helper” or mentor” for other users who are going through experiences that you may have gone through in the past.

  • Sick: A Memoir by Porochista Khakpour (2018)
    • This memoir tells the story of Khakpour’s emotional struggle with chronic illness, pain, misdiagnosis, mental illness, and addiction. Sick is “a candid, illuminating narrative of hope and uncertainty, boldly examining the deep impact of illness on one American-Iranian woman’s life”
  • Unrest (2017 Film)
    • Unrest is a first-person documentary film produced by Jennifer Brea in which she turns the camera on herself to show her struggle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). It explores how we, as a society, treat those with contested illnesses, or illnesses invisible to the naked eye that we cannot yet fully understand.
  • The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde (1980)
    • Audre Lorde was an American civil rights activist, writer, poet, librarian, and feminist. Her writing explores her intersectional identities as a Black woman, lesbian, mother, and warrior. The Cancer Journals is a nonfiction collection of journal entries and essays that depict her struggle with breast cancer and how it relates to her various identities.
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
    • This memoir details Kalanithi’s own experience as both a doctor and patient, as he was a neurosurgeon who diagnosed himself with stage IV metastatic lung cancer. It is an extremely moving story on Kalanithi’s struggle with terminal illness, identity, and mortality.
  • For more books about chronic illness, check out this link

Mental Health

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  • National Alliance for Mental Illness-Chicago (NAMI Chicago) Helpline 833-626-4244 (trained counselors available M-F, 9am – 5 pm)
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (trained counselors available 24 hours a day/7 days a week)
  • City of Chicago Domestic Violence Helpline 1-877-863-6338
  • Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances 1-833-2-3463-4357
  • Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255
  • Eating disorder hotline 1-844-639-8653

  • This website serves as a tool to help find behavioral health and social service resources in Chicago: http://chicagoconnects.org/index.shtml
  • If you’re ready to start taking care of your mental health, below are a few Chicagoland area resources to get you started
    • The Chicago Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Chicago Connects
      • Chicago Connects provides listings of clinics and hospitals that provide mental health services. It also has information on 24-hour hotlines, peer support groups and on substance use disorders
    • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Chicago
      • NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization and is dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. 
      • NAMI Chicago is a branch of NAMI dedicated to individuals in the Chicagoland area
      • On this website, you will find 24/7 hotlines, links to shelters for adults/youth, resources for LGBTQ+ identifying people, links for help with substance use disorders, sexual assault and domestic violence survivors and veterans. 
    • The Center for Contextual Change
      • With three offices in the Chicago area, this center is a private group practice offering a range of behavioral and therapeutic services for all people. They offer sliding scale and pro bono sessions for anyone facing financial barriers to mental health services 
    • Community Counseling Centers of Chicago
      • This is a behavioral health advocate and social service provider that offers quality, comprehensive customer-oriented services to a diverse clientele. 
    • Haymarket Center
      • This is a non-profit agency working to change the public’s view of alcoholism and its treatment. It provides comprehensive treatment to individuals struggling with alcohol and other drug addictions. 
    • Heartland Alliance 
      • One of the world’s leading anti-poverty organizations, Heartland Alliance provides services to individuals who belong to endangered populations including those who are poor, isolated and displaced. 
    • Thresholds
      • Located at 4101 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, Thresholds provides services and resources for persons with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders in the Chicagoland area. They work with many populations including youth, young adults, veterans, young mothers, deaf and individuals experiencing homelessness. 
    • Womencare Counseling Center
      • Located at 1740 Ridge Avene in Evanston, Womencare Counseling provides a variety of therapies, trainings and resources to adults, teens, couples, families and communities in the face of trauma, loss and life’s different transitions. 
    • Metropolitan Family Services
      • This organization provides and mobilizes services aimed at strengthening families and communities in the Chicagoland area. They offer a variety of services and their staff includes licensed clinical social workers, counselors, case managers, mental health professionals, early childhood educations and lawyers.

For hotlines or crisis situations, the following services are available 

  • Call 24/7 hotline: 1-800-273-(TALK) 8255
  • Crisis Text Line
    • Text 741741 for a 24/7 crisis text line – a live, trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds quickly 
    • Serves anyone, in any type of crisis 
  • Illinois Warm Line: 1-866-359-7953. Available Monday-Friday from 8am-5pm 
  • Presence Behavioral Health 24/7 Crisis Line: 708-681-HELP (4357)

  • Trevor Project Lifeline: 1-866-488-7368; available 24/7 and free
  • TrevorText: Text the word START to 678678. Available 24/7 
  • TrevorChat: 24/7 online chat portal available through The Trevor Project’s Website 
  • THRIVE Lifeline: +1-313-662-8209. Available 24/7, you must be 18 years or older to call
  • SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline: 877-360-LGBT (5428); available 24/7, toll-free
  • Trans Lifeline: +1-877-565-8860; available 24/7. 
    • It is staffed by transgender people and is primarily for transgender people in crisis, from struggling with gender identity to thoughts of self-harm
  • GLBT National Help Center
    • Provides telephone, online chat and email peer-support. They speak with callers of all ages about bullying, workplace issues, HIV/AIDS anxiety, coming out...etc. 
    • Toll-free national hotline: 1-888-843-4564 
      • Available on Monday-Friday from 4pm to 12am EST, and Saturday from 12pm to 5pm EST
    • Youth Talkline: 1-800-246-7743
      • Available: 
        • Monday-Friday 4pm to 12am EST
        • Saturday 12pm to 5pm EST 
      • This service is for teens and young adults up to age 25

For a more comprehensive list of counseling and outpatient services that are available in the Chicagoland area, visit the following website: http://www.noshameonu.org/chicagoland

  • The Collected Schizophrenias by Esmé Weijun Wang
    • This collection of essays conveys Wang’s journey through life with various diagnoses: schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, and late-stage Lyme disease. All of these illnesses are what some may call ‘invisible illnesses’ or ‘contested illnesses’, and Wang attempts to communicate what her life feels like to those around her.
  • Brave Face by Shaun David Hutchinson
    • In this courageous and thoughtful memoir, Shaun takes readers through his struggle with depression and how that relates to his identity as a gay man. In his story, Shaun details the obstacles he must overcome in order to eventually embrace himself
  • Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat by Stephanie Covington Armstrong
    • In this first-person narrative, Armstrong describes her struggle as a Black woman with a disorder that is typically considered to be a ‘white woman’s problem.’ Although she eventually realizes she needs help in order to overcome her self-struggle and survive, Armstrong answers many questions society might have about why Black women don’t typically seek help for emotional or psychological problems.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness - Personal Stories: https://www.nami.org/personal-stories
    • A collection of online stories about real people dealing with several mental illnesses

Weight/Obesity Management

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  • University of Chicago Medicine’s Chicago Weight Team. They offer a medically supervised weight loss program that aims to help adults manage their weight and any medical conditions associated with having excess weight. 
  • Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children. This is a nationally recognized leader for community-based obesity prevention. Their focus areas range from food and beverage consumption to health education. 
  • Lurie Children’s Pediatric Wellness & Weight Management Center. This program provides compassionate and comprehensive care for the families of children and teenagers who are overweight or obese and are seeking help with making healthy and sustainable lifestyle changes. 
  • UI Health’s Weight Management Programs which features a healthcare team that works with patients to help diagnose and provide personal treatment options based on a patient’s needs. They offer both non-surgical and medical weight-loss options. 
  • Northwestern Medicines’ Center for Lifestyle Medicine which features lifestyle medicine specialists that work in partnership with the individual to help them set and achieve their health-related goals. Their services include: comprehensive weight management for adults who are overweight or obese, education strategies and skills to help with weight loss and tools to encourage healthy eating/improve physical activity.

Physical Activity Resources

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  • The City of Chicago’s Chicago Fitness Plus Program offers a fun, affordable and accessible fitness program at 48 locations throughout the city for seniors. Call 312.744.4016 to learn more about class schedules and locations near you.
  • Chicago Park District offers a variety of wellness and fitness classes for all levels at different parks around the city. 
    • They are also equipped with new and improved fitness centers that are affordable compared to private gyms. Sign up for a membership at a location nearest you
    • Move Your WaySM partnered with Chicago Park District. Download the app today to build a plan to incorporate more physical activity in your daily life to be a healthier version of yourself.
  • YMCA of Metro Chicago offers a variety of fitness and swimming programs for different ages at various locations throughout the city and suburbs. Services include: fitness classes, group classes, personal training, water fitness classes and more.
  • Healthy Hood Chi located in Pilsen neighborhood offers a variety of fitness classes for an afforable price. Classes range from kickboxing, yoga, to dance. For more information on times visit HealthyHoodChi .

Womxn's Health

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Chicago Women’s Health Center

  • CWHC provides care, services, and health education to women, trans people, and the youth where people pay what they can afford. Their mission is to empower these groups of people and provide them with health services they might not be able to find anywhere else.
  • Services provided at CWHC include:
    • Gynecology
      • Annual examination, birth control counseling, emergency contraception, pregnancy testing, STI/UTI screening, and more
    • Primary Care
      • Address concerns about diabetes, mental health, blood pressure, preventative screenings, and more
    • Trans Health
      • Primary care, hormone therapy, integrative health, and more
    • Counseling
      • Individual, partner, and group counseling and workshops for a wide variety of experiences
    • Health Education
      • Topics include anatomy & hygiene, sexuality, body image, self-exam, and much more
    • Acupuncture and Bodywork
    • Alternative Insemination
    • Pelvic Floor Therapy
    • Nutrition Education & Intuitive Eating
  • All services are offered on a self-pay sliding scale. Check out their website here: https://www.chicagowomenshealthcenter.org/
  • The clinic is located at 1025 W. Sunnyside Ave. Suite 201, Chicago, Illinois 60640

Nutritional Support Resources

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  • To improve nutrition and diet, the following Chicagoland area resources are available
    • The Greater Chicago Food Depository is a food bank that offers a wide range of services that includes nutrition education programs, food pantries and mobile programs, older adult programs and more. To find food near you search the map.

The Urban Growers Collective offers affordable fresh produce to different communities through the Fresh Moves Mobile Market. Visit their website to find out when the mobile market will be in your community.

Covid-19

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  • Howard Brown Health offers no cost covid-19 and antibody testing at various locations on the South and West Sides. 
    • Pre-register for COVID-19 services using Healthvana
  • CORE provides free COVID-19 testing services in multiple locations throughout Chicago.

Vaccinations:

  • For vaccination programs, the following Chicagoland resources are available
    • Cook County Community Vaccination Program offers information about COVID-19 updates and information about the vaccine. Sign up to receive notification when your phase is being vaccinated, information on scheduling a vaccination appointment and information on vaccination distributions.
  • For town halls and more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, check out these resources:
    • Illinois Unidos
      • Illinois Unidos is an up-to-date portal for the Latinx COVID-19 Initiative in Chicago. Here, you will find information on COVID-19 and the Latinx community presented by Latino elected and appointed officials that work with health professionals, and representatives of community-based organizations.
    • Our Chicago: Voices of the Community town hall on COVID and the vaccine in the Latinx community
      • On this site, you can access a pre-recorded town hall that examines COVID-19 and the vaccine in the Latino community with Illinois Unidos.
    • Black Coalition Against COVID-19
      • This organization was created to help Black community leaders and advocates mobilize and fight to protect Black Americans from the pandemic. On their website, they include resources and pre-recorded virtual town halls on the COVID-19 vaccine.

Treatment and recovery:

For mothers and pregnant individuals:

Click here for a list of COVID-19 research registries open to pregnant women and newborns

Cancer Prevention

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For Cancer support check out Tiger Lilly