Mental Health

Local Issues Director: Lois Walter, The League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn

Our chapter of the League follows major issues of interest to our membership; each area is the responsibility of a local issues director.  They track legislation and items of particular timely interest. Our Observer Corps attends meetings to report back to the board and members on key issues.

LATEST REPORT: January, 2019



In the State of Illinois, our neighboring representative, Deb Conroy,District 46  has been reelected. She has been and I assume will continue to be the Chairman of the Mental Health Committee in the State Legislature. This includes the following  subcommittees. Childhood and Young Adult Onset, Justice System, and Substance Abuse. At this time there is no legislation assigned to these committees. Her local office is in Villa Park and her telephone number is 630 415 3520. Her email is


The League of Women Voters Roselle Bloomingdale  recently did a study of 708 Boards(Community Mental Health Boards) and in November 2018  cosponsored a round table with the Bloomington Township Mental Health Auxiliary entitled "2018   Recovery and Progress (RAP)Roundtable"

Bloomingdale Township had passed a referendum in April 2017 which established a new community 708 mental health board under the Illinois Community Mental Health Act  (405 ILCS 20/0l et seq)  As a result the Township was able to award their first grants totaling $550,000. These grants fund a wide array of community needs involving mental illness, addiction and developmental disabilities. The meeting  allowed all organizations receiving grants to introduce their programs in the communities they will serve and encourage community awareness of and participations in these programs. Grant recipients were able to network with each other to foster collegiality

Recipients included Access Community Health Network, Martin T. Russo Family Health Center, Amita Health Adventist Medical Center, Bloomingdale Police Department, Glendale Heights Police Department, Bloomingdale Youth Services, Easter Seals Dupage and Fox Valley, LTM Heroin and Support Foundation,  Marklund  Children's Home, Ray Graham Association for People with Disabilities, Trinity Lutheran Adult Day Services, Village of Roselle Police Department and the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago.

 The Dupage County Health Department and the Dupage County Sheriff's Office has received a two-year U.S. Department of Justice grant of $471,000. to support the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program. It will serve 700 individuals  by diverting individuals with mental illness or co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse disorder from the criminal justice system and they plan to provide re-entry supports for incarcerated individuals  to reduce re-offending. The Behavioral Health Collaborative has set an action plan for 2019-2021. The overall goal is to reduce the frequency with which people with mental health issues are admitted to the Dupage County Jail. The Collaborative plans to expand the Post-Crisis Response Team, develop and implement a decentralized pre-arrest diversion model, and improve the ways the jail is able to screen and support people with mental health issues.  


In the Nation, we now have a resource established  by The Affordable Care Act of 2010 to create optional Medicaid Health Homes to coordinate care for people on Medicaid who have chronic problems." Health Home providers will integrate and coordinate all primary, acute, behavioral  health, and long term services and supports to treat the whole person".  Illinois is one of 22 states that have established these "homes".*A recently released government report states that opioid overdose Emergency Room cases increased 30% in a one-year period, summer 2016 to summer 2017.  Overdose deaths also increased. 

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Mental Health: Mental Health concerns seem to be featured almost daily in the media .There may be  increasing efforts to  highlight  mental illness and what could  be done to provide care. Hopefully  this  increased attention will reduce stigma. If stigma is reduced and people seek help sooner there could be better outcomes for all.

NAMI reports that:

*1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year

*90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness

*70% of youth in juvenile justice system have at least one mental health condition, and limited access to care and support

Given these statistics, why is it that state & federal funding for mental health programs has and continues to significantly decrease?  We need to make our voices heard on this issue.  It makes economic sense given the cost to society of not addressing these issues.

Sources:  DuPage County Daily Herald, Chicago Tribune, NAMI website


An 8 hour course that teaches how to help someone who may be experiencing a mental health or substance abuse challenge. For further information go to website.

ILLINOIS WARM LINE 1 866 359 7953 (Monday -Friday 8:00am-5:00pm)

Staffed by individuals in recovery from mental health/substance use conditions who have been trained in support, advocacy ,mentoring and professional responsibility.                                     Also see Website


MENTAL HEALTH: The League supports a comprehensive and coordinated system of treatment and rehabilitation services for adults and children with mental illness. There should be adequate funding, planning, program standards, and personnel training requirements for both state facilities and community programs. The League supports a broad array of adequate and accessible community services. Although primary responsibility should rest with the state, funding from local, federal, and non-governmental sources should be encouraged. A system of local boards to levy taxes, administer all funds, and to plan and coordinate services should be required throughout the state. The State should require local governments to provide in their zoning ordinances for residential programs for persons with mental illness.