On July 16, 1965, Mental Health America of the Northern Suburbs, then known as the Evanston Mental Health Association, was formed under the leadership of Helen King Mitchell.
The organization set forth the following goals:
- to promote and conserve the mental health of the people of such part of the greater Chicago area through charitable, scientific, and educational activities
- to study and implement the prevention and cure of nervous and mental disorders
Under the leadership of Helen King Mitchell, advised by Dr. Robert Gluckman, the Evanston Mental Health Association was founded.
first name change
Changed name to the Evanston Mental Health Society to avoid confusion with associations affiliated with the National Association for Mental Health (now known as Mental Health America).
dr. karl menninger
Dr. Karl Menninger, distinguished psychiatrist of the Menninger Foundation and Clinic, speaks at first annual dinner.
Received a grant from the W. Clement and Jesse Stone Foundation to study the mental health needs in Evanston and develop a plan to meet those needs.
passage of il hb 708
Passage of IL HB 708. The bill enabled city residents to tax themselves to improve mental health services. The Society was instrumental in the campaign to generate support for passing the bill.
formation of evanston mental health board
Appointment by the Mayor of Evanston of seven individuals to the Evanston Mental Health Board (EMHB), charged with guiding the disbursement of tax funds to improve mental health services.
This year, the Evanston Mental Health Society—an infant only four years ago—stood tall and came of age! In two short years, we and the agencies in Evanston studied the mental health needs, developed a plan and passed a referendum to meet the needs . . . During the campaign, the mental health story was taken to every corner of Evanston. Speakers talked with more than 3,000 people about mental health and the needs of our community. Block workers, mailers and the press reached at least 27,000 more. Ultimately, 7,918 people in Evanston cared enough about mental health to go to the polls and pass a referendum to tax themselves to provide mental health services for our community.
Affiliated with the Mental Health Association of Greater Chicago, the Mental Health Association of Illinois (now Mental Health America Illinois), and the National Mental Health Association (now Mental Health America).
second name change
Changed name to the Mental Health Association of Evanston as a result of affiliating with MHA and others.
The Evanston Association for the Prevention of Drug Abuse and its functions were subsumed by the Association.
At the request of the Evanston Mental Health Board, the organization develops a Listening Skills course to train volunteers to work in mental health agencies under professional supervision. The course continued until 1990, training more than 300 volunteers.
commission on aging
Reorganization of a task force to study the problems with long-term care facilities and the special needs of Evanston’s elderly, which was instrumental in the development of the Commission on Aging.
The 1980s & 1990s
Moved office to St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church after 14 years in the First Presbyterian Church.
launched housing options for the mentally ill
Housing Options for the Mentally Ill later became known as Housing Options, and is now named Impact Behavioral Health Partners.
youth advisory committee
The Youth Advisory Committee, now known as the Youth Advisory Board, was formed.
changed name a third time
Changed name to Mental Health Association of the North Shore. Expanded education programs into other North Shore communities.
EVANSTON MENTAL HEALTH SOCIETY DAY
April 25, 1998 was proclaimed “Evanston Mental Health Society Day” in Evanston by Lorraine H. Morton, Mayor of Evanston.
2000 and beyond
high school essay contest
Launched annual high school essay contest, still held every year to this day, to get young people talking about mental health.
anti-stigma banner campaign
“Mental Health is For Everyone” banners on display in downtown Evanston for Mental Health Month in May.
funding from united way
Received funding from United Way of Metropolitan Chicago.
Our 50th Anniversary celebrations included honoring Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky.
mental health first aid & feeling our best
Began offering Mental Health First Aid training and launched Feeling Our Best, a wellness program for youth developed by Adler doctoral students under the supervision of then Board President Dr. Josefina Alvarez.
moved to evanston civic center
Left office at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church after more than 30 years to move to the Evanston Civic Center.
Responding to the needs of our community, we shifted our traditionally in-person community mental wellness education and workshops to drop-in calls and online webinars.
moved to turning point in skokie
For the first time in our history, we moved our office out of Evanston to Turning Point, a community mental health center in Skokie.
changed name (again)!
Launched our new name, Mental Health America of the Northern Suburbs.
MHANS has responded to the challenges of the past year aggressively, getting ahead of the problems, offering more educational programs, more outreach, and more resources. We have teamed with experts in the field, worked closely with teachers and school administrators and provided accessible education and support to over 1,200 adults and children . . . Now is not the time to lose momentum in addressing mental wellness – the need is greater and our mission couldn’t be more relevant.
Help Us Find Our History
If you were a supporter, contributor, or member of MHANS (or under any of its previous names) and have any documents, photographs, or other information which could contribute to our archives or our understanding of our history, please get in touch. In addition, any corrections or clarifications will be gratefully received.