Audience at 2016 Essay and Multimedia Contest Award Ceremony

Mental Health America of the North Shore was founded in 1965 by a group of advocates and mental health professionals concerned about the need to promote mental health in Evanston. We later expanded our reach to all the northern suburbs of Chicago. We are an affiliate of Mental Health America (MHA), the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. Our work is driven by our commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness. The bell, cast from the shackles and chains that used to bind people with mental illnesses, is our symbol. The Mental Health Bell rings out hope for mental wellness for everyone. We are a volunteer-run organization governed by a Board of Directors and supported by a Professional Advisory Board and a Youth Advisory Board.

Board of Directors



A picture of Josefina Alvarez
Josefina Alvarez PhD


A picture of Marina Radovancev
Marina Radovancev, MBA


A picture of April Singer
April Singer, MBA

Board Members: 

Allyson Adams, MA

Pauline Binder-Finnema, PhD

Amber Bond, LPC

Jeremy Fine

Meredith Knowles, MA

Brian LaMoreaux, MD

Tracy Levine, LCSW

Kate Mahoney, LCSW

Constance Paesel, MBA

Cristina Ramírez, EdS

Silvia Skripkauskas

Professional Advisory Board

The Professional Advisory Board helps us stay current on new developments in the field and informs our programs. We thank the members of this board who volunteer their time to support our work:

Adv. Liron David, BSW, LL.M,

Director, International Relations and Development,

Enosh – The Israeli Mental Health Association

Norwil (Noy) Frial-Lopez, Psy.D, CADC, 

Chief Clinical Officer, Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center, Skokie, IL

 Ann O. Johnson,

Independent Consultant, Evanston, IL

Beth Lindley, LCSW,

Director, Human Services, Village of Skokie

Richard Lyon, MA, LCPC, CADC, CAMS-II,

Director, MaineStay Youth & Family Services, Park Ridge, IL

Sara L. Manewith, MSW,

Director, Response for Teens, Chicago, IL

Greta A. Nielsen MA, NCC, LCPC,

Clinical Care Consultants, Inverness, IL

Myrna Orenstein, PhD,

Independent Practice, Evanston, IL 

Jennifer Pearson, PhD,

Director of Special Education, District 225, Glenview, IL 

Rahul Sharma, PsyD,

Strategic Consultant, Speaker, Clinical Psychologist

Nirmeen Rajani, PsyD,

Psychology Center, Schaumburg, IL

Marsha Smith, LCSW,

Independent Practice, Evanston, IL

Sharon Weingarten, MSW

Social Worker, Educator and Author of “What I Wish You Knew”

Valerie Werner, Ph.D., LMFT,

Core Faculty, Adler University, Chicago, IL

Youth Advisory Board

Our Youth Advisory Board consists of 30 students from Evanston High School, Loyola Academy, Glenbrook North High School, Maine East High School, Maine West High School, and Maine South High School. Their focus is to educate youth, teachers, parents and the community at large on teens’ perspectives on mental wellness.

The current Youth Advisory Board was organized 3 years ago by Board Members Cristina Ramirez and Allyson Adams. Cristina, our longest serving Board Member, had always felt that students’ voices could be a powerful tool in changing the community’s views on mental health. When Allyson joined the Board, the two worked together to bring back the MHANS Youth Advisory Board. The group meets monthly and plans various programs and activities during the academic year.