A Publication of WTVP

Stepping Up to Improve Mental Health Services

An anonymous donor will double your donation to sustain services at UnityPlace.

by Jaymee Barra, UnityPoint Health – Central Illinois |
The mental health impacts of the pandemic are sure to linger well beyond any return to normalcy.

Resiliency is a word we’ve heard a lot over the past 14 months. As soon as we seemingly overcome one difficult situation, we’re faced with another. For many, it’s been important to maintain a strong façade: staying positive for our children, keeping up at work, and supporting our loved ones through illness and loss. While expanded access to COVID-19 vaccines is providing light at the end of the tunnel, the mental health impacts of the pandemic are sure to linger well beyond any return to normalcy. Now, a generous donor is stepping up to make sure the community’s needs are met during these difficult times—and they hope you’re inspired to do the same.

Forming UnityPlace

The World Health Organization reports that the pandemic can trigger mental health conditions or exacerbate existing ones in adults. Depression, anxiety and substance use disorders are some of the most common increases experts are seeing. Meanwhile, children are coping with a total disruption of their education, socialization and physical activity.

In April 2019, UnityPoint Health – Central Illinois joined its behavioral health services with the Human Service Center and Tazwood Center for Wellness to form UnityPoint Health – UnityPlace. UnityPlace is proud to provide the most comprehensive mental health and addiction services in central Illinois for individuals ages four and up. With more than 13 outpatient locations across the region, in addition to virtual and inpatient services, trained team members are available to help people reach their goals and live their best life.

“UnityPlace’s formation was fortuitous,” says Dr. Ted Bender, president of UnityPlace. “These organizations came together right in time to handle the significant mental health load brought on by the stressors of the pandemic.”

When the nation began to shut down last March, UnityPlace was identifying operational strategies to safely stay open and maintain service accessibility. To meet the community’s needs, UnityPlace offered in-person services and expanded its telehealth and phone-based services while following state and local safety guidelines.

Double Your Impact

In order to keep these services available while our community rebounds from the pandemic, an anonymous donor is showing their generosity and encouraging others to follow suit. The donor is working with the UnityPoint Health – Central Illinois Foundation to match up to $50,000 in donations for services at UnityPlace. That means your donation, no matter the size, will be doubled.

The $100,000 raised during this COVID-19 Recovery Campaign will go toward the sustainability of services at UnityPlace—including suicide prevention, substance use disorder treatment, youth mental health counseling, and treatment for PTSD, anxiety and depression. The funds will be used to cover treatment of individuals who can’t otherwise afford services. It will also allow team members to conduct outreach, including counseling sessions, to people in underserved populations of the central Illinois region.

“Ensuring the growth of these services is instrumental to the overall health of our community,” says Mike Unes, vice president of the UnityPoint Health – Central Illinois Foundation. “The generosity of everyone participating in the match campaign ensures that UnityPlace will be able to grow its impact in the years to come.”

Anyone interested in making a donation to help the mental health of neighbors in the community can visit If you know someone in need of behavioral health services, call UnityPlace Access Center at (888) 311-0321.PM