An essential part of living a full life is addressing a person’s whole health care needs. The Egyptian Health Department, a mental health and substance use treatment provider in Fairfield, Ill., has been doing that and more since 1952. We sat down with their CEO, Angie Hampton, to learn how the National Council member is helping individuals, families and groups in Southern Illinois thrive.
What services do you provide as a whole-person health care provider?
The Egyptian Health Department is an integrated public health and behavioral health agency serving the southeastern Illinois counties of Saline, Gallatin, White, Hamilton and Wayne. We also manage a school-based health center and rural health clinic. As part of the behavioral health division, services such as mental health, substance use prevention and recovery, community support, assertive community treatment (ACT) and other evidence-based practices are provided to children and adults.
How are you addressing the health care needs of your communities?
Our mission as an organization is to provide human services that support and enhance the lives of individuals, families and groups in our communities. Our vision is to protect the public’s health and provide behavioral health services that treat the whole person. This year, to help more people and maximize our impact, we are focusing on the expansion and sustainability of our programs, while also focusing on employee wellness and satisfaction.
What behavioral health issues are your communities currently facing?
Unfortunately, substance use disorders — including opioid and methamphetamine abuse — remain our communities’ top health priorities. Mental health crises continue to be on the rise, as well, following the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re leading a number of alliances to address these issues — from a Southeastern Illinois community health coalition, substance use prevention recovery and treatment coalition and local area network for children and families, to a suicide prevention task force, tobacco-free communities coalition and many more. We recognize the importance of multi-sectors and community involvement to better address the behavioral health care needs in our communities.
What are some of your organization’s biggest accomplishments in 2022?
We continued to expand our services to meet the needs of our community. The agency applied for and received many grants that assisted the expansion of much-needed services, including building an integrated hub that will provide screenings of social determinants of health and connect individuals to the resources they need, as well as provide coordination of services for all individuals enrolled in Medicaid that reside in our five-county service area.
What would people be surprised to learn about your organization?
Probably our role during the COVID-19 pandemic. We served as the lead agency for the incident command structure for COVID-19, with the CEO serving as incident commander and the public health administrator serving as the senior public health official. The Incident Command Team met daily, seven days a week, and was responsible for education and information, contact tracing, enforcing executive orders, providing guidance to schools and medical providers, conducting mass vaccination clinics, working with local emergency management agencies to secure needed resources for the community and other required responsibilities. We continue to respond to the mental health and substance use crises that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.