The Mental Health Board (MHB) is a special purpose unit of the county government that is regulated through Illinois House Bill 708, also known as the Community Mental Health Act (CMHA). The CMHA mandates the MHB to administer the mental health fund through the direction of a nine-member board of community representatives appointed by the county government. The board is responsible for making sure that the duties and responsibilities of the CMHA are fulfilled.
The MHB was established after McHenry County voters passed a referendum in 1967 to levy an annual tax for the purpose of “…providing community mental health facilities and services…” In accordance with the CMHA, the MHB distributes levied funds through a yearly application process to organizations that treat and educate county residents affected by mental illness, substance abuse, and other populations in need of behavioral health care.
The first full-time employee, the executive director, was hired in 1975. The volunteer members of the board needed professional leadership to coordinate day-to-day affairs, provide planning expertise, monitor services, initiate networking of services, and develop a closer affiliation with local schools.
Since that time, the MHB worked to develop a comprehensive community mental health system. It won two federal Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) grants with the goal of establishing a comprehensive, integrated, and cost effective mental health system. The MHB also partnered with Lake County to win another SAMHSA grant to coordinate services for veterans and their families.
In Fiscal Year ’20 the MHB budget is just over $10 million funding 30 agencies that provide services within our community.