Consumers & Family Organizations in Illinois

DBSA - Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance

Mission: DBSA provides hope, help, support, and education to improve the lives of people who have mood disorders.

Summary: DBSA envisions wellness for people who live with depression and bipolar disorder. Because DBSA was created for and is led by individuals living with mood disorders, our vision, mission, and programming are always informed by the personal, lived experience of peers. There are nearly 40 DBSA chapters in Illinois! To find a chapter in your area, go to:

Statewide Office:

730 N. Franklin Street, Suite 501

Chicago, IL 60654

(800) 826-3632

Furry Friends Recovery

Mission: Furry Friends Recovery provides educational and therapeutic support by connecting pet therapy teams to people who experience developmental, emotional and traumatic challenges, for comfort, healing and wellness.

Furry Friends Recovery is dedicated to providing life changing support, education and advocacy for persons with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities and those who have experienced traumatic life events.

Services Offered: Inpatient sessions with dog therapy teams when needed for improved patient recovery; Individual support during therapy sessions, court appearances or other settings as needed; Support group and outpatient program visits to improve communication and comfort levels; Community education programs to increase awareness of animal-assisted therapy

Regional Office (serving the Metro-East area of region 5)

P.O. Box 951

Edwardsville, IL 62026

Gift of Voice

Identity Statement: Our leadership consists of individuals with personal and professional experience in mental health and related fields.

Values Statement

  • We embrace Christian Values and strive to interact with one another in a manner which reflects the attributes of a Holy God.
  • We pursue optimal health, recognizing that personal wellness and group wellness are profoundly intertwined.
  • We elevate our collective voice by disclosing personal mental health experiences and dignifying disclosure from others.
  • We affirm that decisions made about persons living with mental health conditions should be made with us leading the discussion and decision-making process.
  • We expect positive outcomes and work diligently toward them.

Vision: Health & Wellness Across the Globe

Mission: Our mission is to train, empower and advocate for mental health of individuals, communities and churches.

Statewide Office:

903 North Second Street, Ste. B

Edwardsville, IL 62025

Office hours are scheduled by appointment.


Mission: GROW's mission is to promote mental health recovery, personal growth and prevention within our weekly mutual help support groups and throughout our supportive community. As members we strive first to take personal responsibility for changing ourselves, and ultimately as leaders we become "gentle builders of a free and whole community" by contributing to the recovery of others.

Summary: GROW in Illinois is a not-for-profit mental health organization run by its members and substantially funded by the Division of Mental Health. The organization was brought to Illinois in 1978 by Australian GROW leaders, at the invitation of Professor O. Hobart Mowrer from the University of Illinois. Mowrer, a community psychologist, was researching the concept of self-help, and believed member-run services add an essential element to mental health care.

To visit an Illinois GROW group -- you don't need an invitation or introduction.

To find a group near you, call toll-free 1-888-741-GROW.

Statewide Office:


PO Box 3667

Champaign, IL 61826

Jail Brakers

About: Jail Brakers is a charitable organization - 501(C)3 - that provides a safe place for children and families to express their emotional reaction to the separation from a family member who has been incarcerated. We embrace a holistic approach to healing and everyone is welcome and treated with respect. Each group meets for 12 weeks followed by ongoing monthly support. Sessions begin with circle time where members share stories that build confidence and trust. A community dinner is provided to foster friendship and natural supports and is followed with an activity. Activities are experiential, expressive and creative and are designed to build cohesion and connectedness to reduce isolation.

Cheryl Niemo is the Founder and Director of Jail Brakers organization. Due to her personal experience with the incarceration of her oldest son, Ms. Niemo founded the organization in 2009, dedicated to addressing the stigma related to incarceration and to providing meaningful resources to families and individuals affected by incarceration as a means to elevate family identity and improve outcomes. Cheryl Niemo is a Mental Health Professional with more than 18 years' experience providing direct services to people with behavioral health needs. Cheryl works at NAMI McHenry County as a Certified Recovery Support Specialist and WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) facilitator. Ms. Niemo has worked with many diverse populations, including individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance, with a special interest in transition-aged young adults.

Services: Jail Brakers provides support to children and their families who struggle with the stigma of incarceration and the impact that it has on them. Jail Brakers provides opportunities that give these children and families a voice and a place to be listened to with respect and compassion. We foster the development of community resources that more effectively meet their needs, and seek to raise awareness about their concerns while fostering hope. Together we will address the stigma that perpetuates the fear, shame and isolation surrounding incarceration.

We provide gas cards for families who wish to maintain strong family connections during their loved incarceration. Family members are sent anywhere from 1.5hrs to 7 hours away from home. This poses a significant financial barrier in addition to the emotional and physical challenges faced when visiting loved ones. Research informs us that being able to maintain positive support increase the likelihood of a successful reentry process, thereby reducing recidivism. (The rate at which people are re incarcerated)

We have a panel of speakers available to provide presentations on a variety of topics related to the justice system. Our goal is to help raise awareness of the multidimensional issues contributing to incarceration, and the impact on individuals, families and communities.

Local Office:

Cheryl Niemo, Founder and Director

PO box 404

Woodstock, IL 60098

(224) 422 - 7431

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Illinois

Mission: NAMI Illinois is a not-for-profit membership organization created to improve the lives of individuals and families challenged by mental illness. In collaboration with NAMI National, Illinois affiliates and other likeminded organizations, we influence public policies, provide up to date education and support programs, and increase public awareness and understanding of mental illness.

Summary: NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illnesses. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope for all of those in need.

Statewide Office:

NAMI Illinois

218 W. Lawrence

Springfield, IL 62704

217-522-1403 V/TTY

800-346-4572 V/TTY

To contact a NAMI Affiliate near you - contact NAMI Illinois or search online at

NAMI Illinois: (217) 522-1403

Next Steps, nfp


  1. Enhance consumer participation, voice, leadership, and empowerment statewide to effect systems change and improve the quality of mental health services so they are recovery-focused, trauma-informed, culturally-relevant, holistic, and resiliency-oriented.
  2. Facilitate access to evidence-based and promising practices
  3. Enhance knowledge, skills, and abilities within mental health service and/or peer support providers related to recovery and trauma-informed approaches
  4. Build infrastructure of Next Steps to facilitate ongoing consumer engagement across Illinois and sustain the Project's accomplishments and outcomes
  5. Establish collaborative relationships with organizations that serve people who are homeless, people with disabilities and people who abuse substances

Statewide Office

6513 N. Sacramento Avenue

Chicago, IL 60645

The Alliance

About: The Alliance received a 5-year Statewide Family Network grant from SAMHSA in 2016. The Alliance aims to provide parents/families with a voice around the way children/youth receive mental health services by providing resources, a support network of parents, caregivers, youth and young adults who will have opportunities to provide support to one another; participate in state planning and policy boards; and take advantage of distance learning opportunities.

Who We Are: Our staff, board members, and Peer Parent Support Partners (PPSP) understand where our clients are coming from. As parents of children with mental health challenges, we have experienced the same feelings of pain and isolation as we struggled to accept our child's condition and find ways to support them.

Who We Serve: The Alliance's programs and services target families of youth ages 10 to 21 who are experiencing mental, emotional, or behavioral health problems. Some of the families we work with have only recently come to terms with the fact that they are now part of a system. This may include special education, behavioral health, juvenile justice, developmental disabilities or child welfare systems.

Statewide Office

121 E. Congress, Suite C

Rantoul, IL 61866

(217) 282-9852

Vision for Change

About: Vision for Change was established by Patricia Doyle, whose mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Our board-certified instructors* offer their own personal experiences along with more than 15 years of combined professional and educational expertise. Pat founded Vision for Change to advance the public's understanding and response to those with a mental health diagnosis.

Over the past 10 years Pat has trained over 1,500 first responders, and for the past five years she has been an instructor at Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trainings throughout northern Illinois. She was instrumental in transforming the service delivery of care from a medical model to a recovery model in psychiatric hospitals. For four years, Pat was a consultant to the National Consortium on Stigma and Empowerment (NCSE), funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Services: * Vision for Change offers Illinois Law Enforcement Training & Standards Board Certified Instructors.

Vision for change has experience providing training for law enforcement, hospital staff, libraries, faith-based organizations, universities, communities, government & media.

Vision for Change is the choice when it comes to educating yourself and your colleagues in mental health awareness. Our experienced instructors work with you to customize a training based on the needs of your organization. At Vision for Change, we're not just passionate about providing valuable information and compelling real-life accounts, we have evidence that this approach actually works.


Phone: 630-234-7477