Thresholds was founded in 1959 to help former patients being released from psychiatric institutions find a community after hospitalization, a pioneering idea at the time. We were the first agency of our kind in Illinois, and one of just seven in the entire nation.

From the beginning, Thresholds has held a strong belief in the resilience and value of all individuals. Prior to the 1960s, there were few treatments utilized for mental illness. Persons with mental illnesses were often hospitalized and heavily sedated for lengthy periods, stripping them of their lives, and often, their humanity. Thresholds has challenged and changed those practices, believing and demonstrating that with the proper supports and treatment, persons with mental illness can begin a recovery that will lead them to a more fulfilling life. Thresholds believes everyone contributes to our society, and that everyone should have the opportunity to live a life of value, self-respect, compassion, and dignity. All of our members arrive with untapped potential, full of gifts and skills to develop.

The program began as a small, volunteer-led agency focused on social activities. In the early sixties, however, Thresholds began to rapidly expand services to include individual and group therapy sessions, vocational rehabilitation, outreach services, residential programs, and a research department. Thresholds has adapted through the years as best practices emerge in our field, including supported employment, housing-first, integrated dual disorders treatment, and more. Today, the agency is an internationally recognized model of mental health care, and we are expanding our service with even more integrated healthcare. More than forty agencies worldwide have based their programming on the Thresholds model.

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