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President's Blog

Taking a leadership role in addressing the mental health crisis facing our nation for all populations

This past week in Los Angeles we concluded our thought-leader series of events, celebrating the 35th anniversary of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and reflecting upon our role in how we educate and train our students to practice psychology-based solutions for today’s critical social problems. The final event titled, What Does the End of Veterans’ Homelessness Look Like? Innovative Solutions for Veterans,” brought experts together to find real solutions for homeless veterans with Los Angeles at the epicenter of this problem.

The surge in the effort to end veterans’ homelessness has focused attention and resources on a number of efforts between now and the end of the year. However, little has been stated about what happens after December 2015 if these goals are not achieved.

We learned from our keynote speaker, President and CEO of U.S. VETS, and also our panelists that the following conversation has been long overdue: the mental health issues facing the men and women who have selflessly served our country for so many years, and what we—as a nation and in our individual communities—can do to meet their needs. We need to do more than just talk about putting systems in place that will address the ongoing flow of veterans for years to come, including mental health, employment, outreach, housing, and more. We must take action.

The following conversation has been long overdue: the mental health issues facing the men and women who have selflessly served our country for so many years, and what we—as a nation and in our individual communities—can do to meet their needs.

The Chicago School has long been known as a leader in diversity among educators and those in the psychology field. Promoting diversity with the goal of addressing the overall health needs of communities is a core value of our institution, and one of my own. As I listened to Mr. Peck, and our panelists, I could not help but feel proud of our students who are working with veterans at their practicum sites, and our alumni who are already making an impact in their fields by taking action that goes beyond the rhetoric.

We must take action.

We wanted our 35th anniversary to be more than a celebration, but also a review of our progress by seeking to mark the year in a manner that would truly make a difference, and one that would affect our country, our profession, and our world for years to come. To that end, we were able to accomplish these goals.