MHAI Summer Newsletter

MHAI Summer Newsletter

June 12, 2017


MHAI Re-Launches the Mental Health Empowerment Project

Mental Health America of Illinois (MHAI) is proud to announce the official re-launching of its signature program, the Mental Health Empowerment Project (MHEP)!

Our programming at MHAI depends on the support of advocates like you. Will you support this program by donating today?


Due to the success and the overwhelming positive feedback of February’s Outpatient Commitment for Persons with Mental Illness (link), MHAI is committed to providing more educational workshops. You can help us secure venues, bring in expert speakers, and keep registration costs low by supporting the Mental Health Empowerment Project. Please consider donating today.

The Mental Health Empowerment Project is an educational initiative featuring expert speakers on an array of topics. CEUs are offered at all MHEP events. All members of the community are welcome to attend the events, including mental health practitioners, psychologists, social workers, students, those living with mental illnesses, advocates, and more.


MHAI At Work: News From Springfield

MHAI has drafted two bills that have been passed and are currently awaiting signature from Governor Bruce Rauner:

House Bill 649
This bill is a joint effort between Mental Health America of Illinois and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. This bill will help expedite the transfer to a state mental hospital of persons who have been found unfit to stand trial or not guilty by reason of insanity.

Senate Bill 1312
removes some obstacles to placing persons in mental health courts and veterans courts, and makes the law governing the three “problem solving” courts in Illinois more uniform.


Call To Action: Help Stop the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA)

The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) falls far short of what is needed and will ultimately do significant harm to people with all chronic conditions, including mental illnesses, while increasing the cost of health care to everyone.

While it leaves in place the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement that insurers cover pre-existing conditions, it does not require insurance products to include all essential benefits. This means that while people with mental health conditions would be able to obtain insurance, the insurance would not include all the services they need. Read the full statement by Paul Gionfriddo, Mental Health America president and CEO.


July is National Minority Mental Health Month


Mental Health America and all of its affiliates, including MHAI, understand that mental health issues may need to be addressed with a unique lens when working with individuals and families with diverse values, beliefs, and sexual orientations, in addition to backgrounds that vary by race, ethnicity, religion, and language.

In recognition of Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, MHAI is sharing information to help various communities:

  • understand the basics about mental health issues among different minority groups;
  • understand policy issues and positions relevant to minority populations; and
  • access materials in Spanish.

To learn more about minority mental health and for educational materials, please click here.


The MHAI Bowl-a-Thon


The MHAI Junior Board held its fourth annual Bowl-a-Thon on March 25, 2017 at Timber Lanes Bowling Alley in Chicago, Illinois.

More than 50 guests guests enjoyed pizza courtesy of Giordano’s Pizza in Rodgers Park and Lakeview. The event also offered guests an opportunity to bid on raffle items, including a Lagunitas package, two bottles of locally-crafted wine, and gift cards to JB Alberton’s and Coalfire Pizza.

All funds raised from the event will strengthen MHAI’s programs and work. If you missed the event but still wish to contribute, please make a donation here.


Mental Health Awareness Month: Naperville North High School Hosts a 5k


During this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month in May at Naperville North High School, Jacquelyn Fabian’s World Cultures class’s assignment was to design an advocacy project. After students submitted proposals for projects, one stood out: a 5k dedicated to mental health awareness.

The class welcomed over 150 participants and raised an astounding $3,000 in donations, which was split between NAMI of Dupage and Mental Health America of Illinois.

After a month of planning and prepping, including calling vendors, setting up donations, securing school facilities, and selling/designing tshirts and wristbands, students expected to raise around $700. Not to mention, they figured the only participants for the run would be their classmates. However, due to their hard work and dedication, the event far exceeded their expectations.

Students were so overwhelmed by their successes and the support from community members, they have already begun preparing for next year’s run, which will again be held in May, in support of Mental Health Awareness Month. Stay up to date with this event by subscribing to our newsletter!


MHAI Board Member Attends the Annual MHA Conference


MHAI Board Member Mark Heyrman, Clinical Professor of Law at University of Chicago Law School, attended the Mental Health America Annual Conference in Washington, DC, June 14-16, 2017.

“The conference provided a wonderful opportunity to meet people from all over the United States who are working to improve mental health services and to share ideas about what works,” said Heyrman. “We also got up-to-the-minute information from Senators and members of the House of Representatives from both parties about the status of the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act and other mental health legislation.”

This year’s conference theme was “Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll,” and focused on the correlation of mental health and risky behaviors. to view photos and a recap of the event, please visit the MHA website.


Join us at Jammin’ Away the Blues! Featuring the Corey Dennison Band


Mental Health America of Illinois (MHAI) is ready to jam at its 8th annual blues fundraiser, Jammin’ Away the Blues, on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at Buddy Guy’s Legends (700 S Wabash).


Join us as we groove to music by 2017 Blues Foundation Award nominee, the Corey Dennison Band! General admission tickets are $30, and VIP tickets (reserved seating and 5 raffle tickets) are $40. Want to help support this fun and exciting event? Sponsorships are available! For more information about this event or to become a sponsor, contact Samantha Simmons at Stay tuned for news about this event by liking MHAI on Facebook.


Ways to Give: Invest in Mental Health


Our ability to continue our important advocacy and programs depends on the support from community members. We know that mental health is vital to overall well-being, and that countless people remain silent sufferers to diseases that cannot be seen. Mental health advocacy is a battle that we must face as a united front. Advocates like YOU are critically important to help us Change Minds, Change Lives all throughout Illinois! You can invest in mental health advocacy in Illinois in a variety of ways:

  • Make a one-time donation
  • Make a recurring monthly donation
  • Donate to MHAI in tribute or in memory of a loved one
  • Become an official sponsor of MHAI

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