Heroes for Health: Jonathan Delagrave

This spotlight series is designed to profile members of the Racine Collaborative for Children’s Mental Health. Over the coming months, the series will feature individual Collaborative members, each of whom is integral to the group’s efforts to forge stronger connections and establish new approaches to strengthen the social and emotional development of our children.

This series is an opportunity to highlight and recognize the diverse individuals, services and resources available to the Racine community.

Who: Jonathan Delagrave, Director of Racine County Human Services

Website: www.hsd.racineco.com

Email: Jonathan.Delagrave@GoRacine.org

Phone: 262-638-6646

Twitter: @RacineCountyWDC or @Racine County

About HSD: The Human Services Department provides a host of prevention and treatment programs in addition to services for employers and job seekers. These programs strive to make available the most cost-effective services, which help attain a healthy and self-sufficient life. Many programs are geared toward specific populations such as adults, abused/neglected children or persons with disabilities. Some are court-ordered services and others are more inclusive, supporting individuals’ goals for educational or vocational achievement.

Words from Jonathan, a Hero for Health:


After becoming Human Services Director for Racine County in 2011, I quickly became aware of the large number of individuals in our community who were in need of mental health services. In particular, I recall being shocked by the number of children and teens entering juvenile facilities who suffered from mental health issues. Too many parents were unaware of how to access care for their children and the result was unnecessary altercations with the law.

I’ve since concluded that we must do everything possible as a community to get ahead of this problem, or we risk it becoming an even greater challenge. Mental health issues show up in children at an early age and are informed by the environment in which they grow up. Without intervention, these patterns and behaviors harden into lifelong habits. It’s important for us to recognize that if we can meet children's mental health needs at the earliest opportunity possible, we can have a long-term impact on the quality of their lives and the well being of our entire community.

It is this commitment to intervention that guides our work at Racine County Human Services. I’m proud of the programs that we have brought to bear on the challenge.

One program in particular is our S.A.I.L. Program (Stabilization, Assessment, Information and Linkage). S.A.I.L is available to provide adults suffering from short-term mental health issues with care during challenging periods in their lives. Many members of our community experience mental health issues as they deal with difficult periods in their adult lives such as losing a job, going through a divorce or losing a loved one. Often, short-term care is a more effective approach – in contrast to placing an individual in a long-term care environment – and S.A.I.L. is available to all members of our community when needed.

Another resource is the Racine County Behavioral Health Center, which provides access to a variety of services in one place. Together, these two programs are allowing us to expand our care to more individuals while ensuring affordable treatment for all members of the Racine community.

As a lifelong resident of the community, I am fortunate to be in a position to help people at one of the most vulnerable times in their lives. Everyone can play a role in educating themselves on mental health issues, and in turn, become a voice of compassion in our community. Initiatives such as the Collaborative for Children’s Mental Health that are helping bring the unmet mental health needs of children to light, cannot be successful without community support and awareness. As with any challenge, it is only once we recognize that a problem exists that solutions can begin to emerge.

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