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Since 1909, Mental Health America of Illinois (MHAI) has worked to promote mental health, prevent mental illnesses and improve the care and treatment of people suffering from mental and emotional disorders. Our three main focus areas are to educate, to advocate and to inform.
As supporters, we know that mental health is vital to overall well-being and that countless people remain silent sufferers to diseases that cannot be seen. This is a battle that we must face as a united front, which is why advocates like YOU are critically important to help make change!
We are focused on promoting publicly-funded mental health services in Illinois for adults and children – to be both affordable and accessible. MHAI advocates for related legislation to eliminate medication Step Therapy and support Insurance Parity, as well as policies and practices that support adequate mental health services.

Our Story


For more than 100 years, Mental Health America of Illinois has been the leading non-profit, non-governmental, statewide organization in Illinois concerned with the entire spectrum of mental and emotional disorders. We are dedicated to promoting mental health, working for the prevention of mental illness and improving care and treatment for persons suffering from mental and emotional disorders. MHAI develops and supports policy positions on key mental health issues by working with legislators, state agencies and other not-for-profit groups to advocate for improved services. We sponsor occasional seminars and educational events on key clinical and policy issues.

MHAI is an affiliate of the national nonprofit, Mental Health America.

Our Mission
Crowd Cheering


The mission of MHAI can only be achieved through the dedication of volunteers, and MHAI is thankful for those who have chosen to take on leadership positions.


Honorable Thomas J. Dart
Cook County Sherriff

Daniel Conti, PhD
JP Morgan Chase

Ric Estrada
CEO, Metropolitan Family Services

Al Orsello, MS
The Prevention Partnership

Honorable Matthew O’Shea
Alderman of the 19th Ward

Reverend Charles T. Ruby
Founder, Loving Outreach to Survivors of Suicide (LOSS)

Barbara Shaw
Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership

Karen Tamley
Commissioner, Mayor’s Office of People With Disabilities

Our Board


Ray Connor
Executive Director and President

Joseph Troiani, PhD, CADC
Vice President
Adler University

Cindy Summers


Owner, Flourish Cake Design

Rebecca Ogrodny, M.Ed
Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor

Owner, Empower Mental Health

Joyce Gallagher
Immediate Past President
President, Gallagher Media and Consulting, LLC

Mark Heyrman, J.D.

Facilitator, Mental Health Summit

Kailyn Bobb,PsyD
Clinical Director, Courage to Connect

Kerri Brown, Esq., LLM, PHR
CEO, Community Counseling Centers of Chicago


Carter Kaufman
Market Strategy Group

Omari Jones, M.Div., M.A.CMHC
Counselor, Trellus


Badonna Reingold
Vice Chair, Community Mental Health Board


Marge Sondler
Retired, NW Memorial Hospital

Nneka Jones Tapia, Psy.D

Leader in Residence, Chicago Beyond

Cristina M. Villarreal
Director of Public Affairs, Chicago
Dept. of Family and Support Services


Mental Health America of Illinois (MHAI) is an independent affiliate of the national organization, Mental Health America. MHAI’s partnership with Mental Health America and our five other independent Illinois affiliates supports our goal to create a unified mental health movement in Illinois.  Working together at the national and local level will continue to increase awareness and build support for mental health.

Mental Health America (MHA) – National Office
(800) 969 – 6642
Alexandria, VA

Mental Health America of the North Shore (MHANS)
Evanston, IL
(847) 328-6198


A Symbol of Hope

During the early days of mental health treatment, asylums often restrained people who had mental illnesses with iron chains and shackles around their ankles and wrists. With better understanding and treatments, this cruel practice eventually stopped.
In the early 1950s, Mental Health America issued a call to asylums across the country for their discarded chains and shackles. On April 13, 1953, at the McShane Bell Foundry in Baltimore, Md., Mental Health America melted down these inhumane bindings and recast them into a sign of hope: the Mental Health Bell.
Now the symbol of Mental Health America, the 300-pound Bell serves as a powerful reminder that the invisible chains of misunderstanding and discrimination continue to bind people with mental illnesses. Today, the Mental Health Bell rings out hope for improving mental health and achieving victory over mental illnesses.
Over the years, national mental health leaders and other prominent individuals have rung the Bell to mark the continued progress in the fight for victory over mental illnesses.

The Mental Health Bell
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