Division of Mental Health (Fact Sheet) - DHS 4028

State of Illinois
Department of Human Services

Within its five service regions, including Metropolitan Chicago (North, West and South) and Greater Illinois (Suburban, North Central, Central and South), the Division of Mental Health (DMH) is responsible for assuring the availability of, and access to, recovery oriented, evidence-based and community-focused publicly funded mental health services for children, adolescents and adults throughout Illinois.

Services are provided by 179 contracted community mental health centers/agencies and seven DMH-operated psychiatric hospitals. Statutorily required treatment services for sexually violent persons are provided at the DMH-operated Treatment and Detention Facility.

Working within the framework of the New Freedom Commission Report on Mental Health, the vision of DMH is "The Expectation is Recovery!" The corollary here is that all persons who experience mental illnesses will recover, and that effective treatment and supports essential for full participation in one's community will be accessible and available at all stages of a person's life. The mission of the DMH is to assure that effective treatment and supports are accessible, through fiscally efficient use of public funds, to children, adolescents and adults who are most in need of these services, in order that they may be empowered in their recovery. Toward the actualization of its vision, the DMH is in the midst of fundamentally significant initiatives to move the community mental health system toward transformation.

Core Services

The following listing includes brief descriptions of the DMH core services, noted in the service area in which the services are delivered.

Recovery Support Services

Foundational to the DMH transformation efforts has been the work in this service area. These efforts have included the development, in collaboration with the Illinois Certification Board, of the Certified Recovery Support Specialist (CRSS) credential for persons who provide professional peer services for persons in recovery from mental illness or combined mental illness and substance abuse disorders. The CRSS professional is trained to incorporate his or her own unique personal life experiences as a current or former consumer of services, in providing peer-to-peer mental health, rehabilitation, and substance abuse services. Also, developed in collaboration with the Department of Central Management Services, the Mental Health Recovery Support Specialist (MHRSS) title series, allows persons to be employed in actual bargaining unit classification titles within the DMH. And finally, Wellness Recovery Action Planning (WRAP) has become the cornerstone in the development of our recovery-oriented system.

Community Services

The DMH has the responsibility for contracting with and monitoring an extensive network of 179 community mental health agencies. A Community Services priority for the past few years has been the development of both Permanent Supported Housing and Individual Placement and Support (Supported Employment) for consumers throughout the state. And finally, in accord with the Nursing Home Reform Act, the DMH is working with a number of community/system partners to transition consumers from various long term care settings to other housing/residential living options.

Child/Adolescent Services

The DMH Child/Adolescent Services (C/A Services) unit is responsible for assuring mental health care to over 36,000 children each year from intensive community-based care to crisis intervention and psychiatric rehabilitation, the C/A Services is responsible for the care of youth, birth to 17 years, who are in need of publicly funded mental health care. The C/A Services unit embraces the concept of 'Family Driven Care,' emphasizing that families, who know their children best, be the central decision makers and true partners with professionals, both in directing their children's mental health care and in providing input to improve the mental health system at large.

Partnering with other state agencies and the federal government, the C/A Services also provides special programs for children below the age of 18, youth in transition to adulthood, youth with mental health/substance abuse issues, and youth needing to access mental health care within school systems.

Mental Health & Justice (Forensic)

The DMH has also moved significantly toward transformation in its Mental Health & Justice (Forensic) service area. This service area has the primary responsibility for developing, implementing and coordinating the inpatient and outpatient placements of adults and juveniles remanded by the Illinois county courts to the Department of Human Services under statutes finding them unfit to stand trial (UST) and not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI). Consistent with national trends, the DMH has added forensic inpatient beds in strategic locations toward a goal of restoration, as soon as possible, of a designated individual's fitness-to-stand trial. The DMH has been awarded several grants, including a substantive federal grant for its Jail Diversion and Trauma Recovery programs, the latter program having been called a model for returning veterans. In addition, the DMH Mental Health Court Initiative has been expanded to all five regions and the most successful Data Link Initiative for County Jails has been continued and expanded. The DMH was also awarded a most significant federal grant for a Transformation Transfer Initiative, which funded a statewide mental health/criminal justice needs assessment and system mapping initiative to help facilitate system transformation throughout Illinois.

State-Operated Psychiatric Hospitals

The DMH currently operates and administers seven psychiatric hospitals throughout Illinois. The following is a breakdown of hospital sites organized by region:

  • Region 1: Chicago-Read and Madden MH Centers
  • Region 2: Elgin MH Center
  • Region 4: McFarland MH Center and the Treatment and Detention Facility (TDF)
  • Region 5: Alton, Choate and Chester MH Centers

The TDF in region 4 serves the sexually violent persons population and the Chester Mental Health Center in region 5 serves forensic patients and behavior management patients needing maximum security. All of the other hospitals serve adults who need a therapeutic environment to receive treatment for their mental illnesses, or adults who need a secure environment to receive treatment for their court-ordered status of UST or NGRI. Hospital inpatient care is provided to persons with mental illnesses most often because they have little access or no capacity to pay for necessary treatment in community hospitals.

Additional Information

The DMH engages in a number of other recovery-oriented, consumer-focused services and activities. To find out more about these services and activities, or to obtain assistance in the general area of mental health services, please call 1-866-359-7953 (voice) or 1-866-880-4459 (TTY), or go to www.illinoismentalhealthcollaborative.com and www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=29728.

For more information call or visit your local Illinois Department of Human Services office.

If you have questions about any Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS)?program, call or visit your local IDHS?office. We will answer your questions. If you do not know where your local IDHS?office is or if you are unable to go there, you may call the automated helpline 24 hours a day at:

1-800-843-6154 (Voice)

1-800-447-6404 (TTY)

You may speak to a representative between:

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday - Friday (except state holidays)

For answers to your questions, you may also write:

Illinois Department of Human Services

Office of Customer and Support Services

100 South Grand Avenue East, 2nd. Floor

Springfield, Illinois 62762

Visit our website at:  www.dhs.state.il.us

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 4028 (R-06-15) Fact Sheet - Mental Health (DMH) Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois. PO#15-1148 500 Copies