We have commented in the past on efforts by the current village board and administration to find new ways to go after challenges that other towns sometimes just toss money at.
Monday night, in resuscitating the long-dormant Board of Health, the village council found a path to bring attention, and just a bit of financial support, to rising mental health issues facing this village and every community in the country. The choice recognizes that Forest Park will never be a direct provider on issues related to mental health services. And maybe it doesn’t have to be to still do something worthy.
Once again calling on Forest Park’s reservoir of talented volunteers, the Board of Health — sort of a fancy name for a citizen commission — will work to educate, elevate and connect. There is already a range of mental health services in and around Forest Park. You can start with Riveredge Hospital on Roosevelt Road, plus a wide range of nonprofit providers to be tapped. Till now, as it has traditionally done, Forest Park has been oblivious to the existing Proviso Township Mental Health Commission, a taxpayer-funded entity serving all of Proviso. That connection has now been made. In fact a plan is being developed for a shared Mental Health Expo as early as May.
Central to all mental health initiatives is simply to openly recognize, respect and remove stigma from the discussion. This effort by Forest Park and its newly reconstituted Board of Health is a solid start.
The real St. Patrick’s day
Don’t let anyone tell you that this Saturday, March 4, is not St. Patrick’s Day. Sure, your store-bought calendar or Google device may say St. Pat’s is on March 17. But if you are from around here, the real event is this Saturday and it is Forest Park-centric.
The annual St. Pat’s parade will draw a cast of thousands, an array of marchers, including both your local newspaper folks and some guys in fuzzy hats on teeny vehicles. It is your guarantee that spring is right on the cusp. It is an opportunity, if you need an invite, to drink some beer and eat Ireland’s one heralded dish.
Sponsored as always by the ever-energetic Forest Park Chamber of Commerce, the parade is plain fun with a small town, big city vibe. Last year, when the parade came back after COVID, the crowd estimate was 10,000 souls. A happier group will be hard to find.