The Expectation is Recovery . . . - DHS 4659

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

Information about
The Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Mental Health

Who is Eligible for Services Through the Division of Mental Health

Individuals who feel they need mental health services should begin by contacting their local health care provider to find out what benefits are available, obtain information, and make choices for receiving care.

Services through the Division of Mental Health are typically provided to people who do not have access to other sources of mental health care or, as is frequently the case, for consumers whose mental health care benefits no longer cover services. The main consumers of services provided by the state mental health system are adults who have serious mental illnesses and children diagnosed with severe emotional disturbances.

The Division of Mental Health does not provide assistance for matters such as marital counseling or for unchanging developmental disabilities such as mental retardation and Down syndrome. It will provide information about where to seek information regarding such disabilities. If a developmental disability is combined with a mental illness or autism, however, the Division's services would be available.

Find a local mental health care provider near you.

More information about the services provided by the Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Mental Health is available online at or by calling 800-843-6154.

People with mental health emergencies should call 911 or their local mental health agency.

This brochure contains information about the Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Mental Health, the services it provides, and how to obtain them. It is the doorway to a great deal of information useful to persons and families affected by mental illnesses.

The Expectation is Recovery

Perhaps the most important single thing to understand about mental illnesses is that they can be treated just as successfully as any other medical condition. Advances over the past two decades in treatment, service provision, and research have transformed what a person with a mental illness can expect through appropriate treatment.

The Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Mental Health is guided by the vision that all persons with mental illnesses can recover and participate fully in a life in the community.

The Division is responsible for ensuring that children, adolescents, and adults have access to publicly funded mental health services, provided by well-trained, highly professional, and compassionate people. In work involving the mental health of children, the primary focus is on prevention of mental illnesses. Early intervention designed to alter the factors that could lead to a mental illness, coupled with strategies for building the resilience needed to maintain good mental health, can be highly effective.

The Division recognizes the enormous challenges facing those with mental health issues. Despite great progress in the field, the stigma long associated with mental illnesses lingers. But people who overcame any concerns associated with getting help have benefited from the great progress made in the field. They have found that beyond the challenges lie opportunities to help ease distress and restore the productivity and sense of well-being that comes through recovery.

"The main goal of the mental health system is to help people live, learn, work, and participate in their communities."

- President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, 2003

The Consumer is Central

The Division of Mental Health believes that the person in recovery from mental illness or dual diagnosis of mental illnesses and substance use disorders, his or her family, and others with a direct interest, as decided by the consumer, should participate in all phases of mental health service delivery and evaluation. It is important that the person receiving the services be fully involved in decisions made about treatment options.

Locating Illinois Mental Health Services

No matter where a person lives in the state of Illinois, mental health services provided through the Division of Mental Health are reasonably close at hand. The state is divided into five regions, with mental health services available through contracts with 162 independent community mental health centers and agencies, more than 30 community hospitals with psychiatric units, as well as nine state-operated hospitals.

An office locator is available online at or call 800-843-6154. In either case, a person seeking a location closest to them will be given information about how to contact the nearest or most appropriate mental health care provider.

In emergency or crisis situations involving mental health issues, hospitals, police, and fire department personnel are trained responders and consumers, family, and friends should call 911 or their local mental health agency.

Getting Started

Individual situations will vary, but the process a person follows when seeking assistance through a community mental health center is fundamentally the same throughout the state. It begins with a meeting with a mental health professional who conducts a mental health assessment. The assessment is typically followed by development of an Individual Treatment Plan (ITP) that outlines the mental health services to be provided, the reasons why, and how long the plan of treatment should take.

The services offered, their level of intensity, and their duration depend on the severity of a person's condition. Some consumers, for example, need group therapy on a regular basis, while others may need case management involving an array of services and the assistance of a mental health professional working one-on-one with the consumer to ensure that all necessary help is provided.

"In Illinois, our mental health system is based on the belief that a person with a mental illness should expect recovery. Individuals we serve-our consumers and families-are encouraged to take the lead in developing plans that will guide their journey to full participation in community life."

- Lorrie Rickman-Jones, Ph. D.,
Director, Illinois Department of Human Services' Division of Mental Health

Mental Health Services

Services of the Division of Mental Health are provided by qualified mental health clinicians at accredited, certified mental health centers. Service providers include licensed physicians, board-certified psychiatrists, licensed clinical psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed counselors, and registered nurses. They are assisted by para-professionals and Recovery Support Specialists, people whose life experiences and training prepares them to provide peer support and who are directly supervised by mental health professionals.

A range of services is available, depending on a person's needs. The process of care generally begins with an assessment, followed by recommendations, treatment and support using services from which the person could benefit. Most services for treatment and support are provided through the Division and its many partners in community locations. In a crisis, after an assessment, a person can begin intensive treatment in a hospital or with community crisis services and transition to less intensive services as needed.

The Division provides outpatient, inpatient, and crisis services as well as specialized programs for children and adolescents. Its forensic services are designed for the care and treatment of people referred through the court system.

Evidence-Based Practices

Evidence-Based Practices are central to the Division's approach to mental health recovery. Evidence-Based Practices are approaches that have been shown, through research and practice, to be highly effective. It is an approach to service that emerged from the Evidence-Based Practices Project of the U.S. Government's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Mental Health Services and additional research since then.

The Division of Mental Health promotes the Evidence-Based Practices of:

  • Illness management and recovery
  • Family psychoeducation
  • Medication algorithms
  • Assertive community treatment
  • Supportive employment
  • Integrated dual disorders treatment

The Division provides outpatient, inpatient, and crisis services, as well as specialized programs for children and adolescents. Its forensic services are designed for the care and treatment of people referred through the court system.


"...the personal and community qualities that enable us to rebound from adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or other stresses - and to go on with life with a sense of mastery, competence, and hope."

  • President's New Freedom Comission on Mental Health, 2003

Other Providers of Mental Health Services

Services provided by the Division are not the only source of publicly funded mental health services in the state of Illinois. Other state agencies, in particular those involved with corrections, education, juvenile justice, and child welfare are also important providers of mental health care. As the officially designated State Mental Health Authority, the Division works closely with these other agencies to coordinate care and to keep a focus on recovery, not just symptom management. Through the Smart Path program, for example, persons involved in the corrections system who used services through the Division of Mental Health are identified so that mental health service can be coordinated while the person is incarcerated.

To learn more about Evidence-Based Practices, ask for the brochure "Information about Evidence-Based Practices" at any state-funded mental health facility, by calling 800-843-6154, or online at

100 South Grand Avenue East
Springfield, IL 62762


1-866-324-5553 TTY

DHS website:

Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.

DHS 4659 (R-04-10) DHS/DMH Information
Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois