The Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Behavioral Health Center was originally incorporated as the Garfield Park Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center, Inc. The center was established as a private not-for-profit community agency in August 1973. Under Public Law 94-63, the agency assumed responsibility of a Department of Health, Education and Welfare grant to promote and strengthen the concept of community controlled and operated mental health services. A Board of Directors composed of community leaders, consumers and service providers from the Garfield area organized toward meeting the need.

Dr. Bobby E. Wright was the first Executive Director of the center. Under his leadership, the agency grew from one sheltered workshop program to eleven clinical programs and five supportive components. Following his death in 1982, the agency was renamed the Bobby E. Wright Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center and re-dedicated to his philosophy of commitment, accountability and excellence of service to the Black community.

Following Dr. Wright’s death, leadership of the agency (between 1982 and 1984) was provided by Dr. Joan Smith-Cooper, who was promoted to Executive Director after serving as Assistant Director to Dr. Wright Upon her resignation, a diligent search was made by the Board for an Executive Director who could not only continue the vision, but could also expand the agency’s vision. In addition, the Board sought an Executive Director who was able to respond to the many changes that were taking place in the area of behavioral health care. In October of 1984, Dr. Lucy Lang¬-Chappell was chosen as the Executive Director. Having served on the original committee that approved funding for the Bobby E. Wright Center at its inception, Dr. Chappell was able to provide a smooth transition and continuity of management within the agency. In addition, Dr. Wright frequently consulted with Dr. Lucy Lang-Chappell during her tenure as Executive Director of a mental health center on the Westside and as Regional Director for the City of Chicago’s Bureau of Mental Health for many years.

Since Dr. Lucy Lang-Chappell assumed leadership of the agency in October 1984, services have expanded from eleven programs to more than thirty programs. The expansion has included each of the four major program areas of the agency, namely, Mental Illness, Children & Adolescents, Developmental Disabilities and Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Treatment and Prevention. Program expansion include a Foster Care Program for the Adult Mentally Ill, a 24-hour community based Crisis unit, a 16-bed Crisis House, services for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, an MI Homeless Program and a 40-unit apartment building for the Developmentally Disabled funded by H.U.D. There has been local, state and national recognition of the services provided at the agency.

Additionally, Dr. Chappell introduced award programs to provide recognition for consumers who have attained significant milestones in their treatment, especially those who have remained out of the hospital for 18 months or longer or have maintained significant periods of sobriety. Dr. Chappell was named President & CEO in March 1998.

March 2012
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