ROGERS PARK — A Rogers Park-based mental health nonprofit is celebrating its 50th anniversary just as it seeks to meet rapidly increasing demand for its services.
Trilogy will celebrate 50 years of providing mental health care to people most in need on Thursday, when it will host its 50th Anniversary Gala. The organization will reflect on its path to becoming one of the city’s most preeminent mental health care nonprofits while noting how vital such services have become, said President and CEO Samantha Handley.
Trilogy was founded in 1971, seeking to help people suffering from mental health issues to get treatment and better their quality of life. One of its first efforts was a job placement program, where clients were employed packaging incense for sale at stores.
The nonprofit has grown into a holistic mental health services provider, offering therapy, housing assistance, financial planning, medication training and job placement.
In 2007, Trilogy served 300 clients. Last year, it served 3,200 people. Twenty percent of Trilogy’s client base are people experiencing homelessness, according to its 2019 annual report.
Trilogy doubled the number of therapists it employs last year, seeking to meet demand for mental health services that spiked during the pandemic. Still, there is a waiting list for such services, Handley said.
“In Chicago, the need for mental health services is tremendous,” she said. “We recognized the need was tremendous and started growing our teams, but we haven’t been able to keep up with demand.”
Trilogy is working to meet the demand, with plans to open a Brighton Park outpost within six months and efforts to expand its child services. The organization is also seeking to expand programs to keep clients in their homes and jobs, Handley said.
Thursday’s gala will help in those goals. Trilogy is trying to raise $125,000. As of Wednesday, it had secured more than $95,000 in donations for the event.
The gala will also honor Patrick J. Kennedy, the former congressman who authored the landmark Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. Kennedy will make prerecorded remarks at the gala. Chicago rapper Vic Mensa also recorded a video in support of Trilogy that will be played at the gala.
The gala will take place virtually starting 6 p.m. Thursday. For more information on how to donate or tune into the event, click here.
Trilogy has worked over the years to transition its services out of offices and into the community, making services more convenient and accessible.
The need for more mental health services has become top of mind during the pandemic, and there is talk of using federal stimulus funds to reopen the six clinics closed by the city in 2012. City officials say they prefer a “centers of care network” and that funding of mental health programs will double next year to $86 million.
However the city chooses to expand mental health services, Handley said Trilogy is providing a model for what community-based mental health programs should look like.
“It’s very individualized now,” she said. “Being able to be innovative and getting the services to the people rather than having them come in is super important.”
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