By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook) announced that she has obtained $268,000 in City Council funding to support a program at Lutheran Family Health Centers that helps people suffering from serious mental illnesses to lead productive lives.
The Psychosocial Program has helped hundreds of people, officials said. Lutheran Family Health Centers is a network of small clinics around southern Brooklyn afflicted with Lutheran HealthCare, the umbrella organization which runs the hospital Lutheran Medical Center at 150 55th St. in Sunset Park.
Gonzalez had previously called for the development of programs like Sunset Terrace's Psychosocial Program for local residents with serious mental illnesses.
"This funding marks the third allocation I have made in as many years," said Gonzalez, who last week was defeated in the Democratic Primary by Carlos Menchaca and will not be running for re-election in November.
The program might have died without the funding, she said.
"As a certified clinician, I am acutely aware of the vital importance the Psychosocial Program provides to the progress of the participants involved. I want to thank the executives and staff at Lutheran Family Health Centers as well as the program participants who all played a part in this victory in our ongoing campaign to keep the program alive. I am also proud to say I gained my accreditation as a clinician at the facility,” Gonzalez said.
"Councilwoman Gonzalez has a long history with the Sunset Terrace Family Health Center and we are so pleased that she continues to serve as a strong advocate for our patients and our community health center network," said Larry K. McReynolds, executive director of Lutheran Family Health Centers.
The program philosophy is based on the belief that individuals living with a serious mental illness can recover from their illness and have the capacity to learn and to grow and to live productive lives in the community, program officials said.
The program currently serves over 150 members.