Beating the Odds - 4:39
Meagan Sims, Aunt Martha's Health and Wellness
Posted Aug 22, 2019
Meagan Cheve` Sims
Child Welfare Supervisor and Doctoral Student Meagan Sims is a dedicated professional in the non-profit sector. As a proud veteran of the United States Army, Meagan has selflessly served her country and in her community with vigor and passion. Meagan is an alumnus of Englewood High School in Chicago and holds a Masters in Non-Profit Management from Spertus College. She is actively pursuing her Doctorate of Education in Interdisciplinary Leadership at Governors State University. Meagan’s goal is to develop holistic supportive programming to assist youth in foster care in their pursuit of higher education. She is also a certified and registered adult and children’s yoga instructor. Meagan currently works as the Manager of the Adolescent Girls Unit of Aunt Martha's Health and Wellness’ Interim Care Center. This professional endeavor is also a personal one for Meagan as Aunt Martha's was her foster care agency when she was a child until she was adopted by her great-grandmother at the age of 11. Through her life’s work, Meagan aspires to empower individuals to overcome life’s trials and travail toward greatness despite their circumstances. Her life's mantra is "Success does not come to you, you must go to it."
Hosted by: Ellee Pai Hong Produced by: Greater Chicago Newsmakers Team

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Digital Mental Health Initiative

The UI Center on Depression and Resilience has launched a new innovative artificial intelligence (AI) and technology based treatment initiative, creating a digital based mental health safety net, to address Illinois' mental health crisis, and treat suicide risk factors. The UICDR has developed numerous digital tools, apps and inventions to reduce mental health disparities and offers these cutting-edge products to the public. This pioneering concept potentially can serve as a blueprint for the cost-effective integration of AI and technology to give greater access to mental health resources to poverty stricken areas and combat the growing national mental health crisis. This initiative is the “Digital Mental Health Initiative” (DMHI). The DMHI is a collaborative, transdisciplinary group of scientist, researchers, engineers and physicians working across 19 labs in at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Psychiatry Department to improve equitable access to mental health treatment with innovative smart, connected technology. The DMHI employs cutting-edge research to develop evidence-based digital tools and other technology based mental health treatments, which have already effectively treated thousands of patients. 1.5 million people in Illinois live with serious mental illness. According to the most recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide in Illinois has risen 23 percent, and is now ranked as the 11th leading cause of death in the state. The prevalence of depression in Illinois has increased, as it has globally, catapulting depression to the number one cause of disability worldwide.

This crisis has come at a staggering cost; estimates place the economic cost of untreated depression/behavioral health in the state to be more than 1.4 billion dollars a year.

Lack of access to treatment, and inefficient models of care, lie at the heart of this crisis. These numbers are a sobering reminder that we as a society have not adequately addressed the core reasons nor put forth the proper solutions to confront this health crisis, and necessitated the creation of UI Center on Depression and Resilience “Digital Mental Health Initiative” (DMHI).

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