Thresholds Statement on Governor Rauner’s State of the State Address 2017

Governor_HeadshotChicago, IL – Yesterday, Governor Rauner delivered his State of the State address, closing his remarks by speaking to the need for bipartisanship in order to return hope, opportunity, and prosperity to Illinois. We echo this call for collaboration and reiterate our plea for the Governor and state policymakers to work together to end the budget stalemate, and to chart a path forward for our state.

We applaud the Governor and state agencies for their leadership on taking steps to reform Illinois’ behavioral health system. But there is so much work to do – we must pave the way for innovation and future cost savings by addressing mental health conditions before they become debilitating. System-wide changes to strengthen and improve mental health and substance use treatment are welcomed and long overdue. We look forward to working with the Governor, state agencies, and lawmakers to expand the availability of evidence-backed, life-saving treatment.

As one of Illinois’ largest and longest standing community-based mental health providers, we must call attention to the reality that the budget crisis stands squarely in the way of realizing these reforms and jeopardizes access to treatment for the hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans.

This is an urgent matter.

For more than 18 months, Illinois has gone without a complete budget. A failure to agree upon and enact a fully-funded, balanced budget has left Thresholds and our fellow human service and healthcare providers across the state with delayed payments, millions in unpaid invoices, and a mountain of uncertainty. In the absence of timely and adequate funding from the state, we as providers struggle to continue delivering critical care that enables those with mental health and substance use conditions in communities across our state to achieve independence and reclaim their lives. Lives are at stake, and hundreds of jobs across sectors throughout Illinois are being lost to the budget impasse.

A budget resolution is imperative. It is incumbent upon the Governor and state legislators to do what is in the best interest of Illinoisans, and do so quickly. Anything less would be irresponsible and negligent. The future of our state hangs in the balance and continued inaction poses a direct threat to access to life-changing treatment and recovery. We are encouraged by recent movement in the Illinois Senate and hope that their work together represents the first step toward reestablishing negotiations and expediting the road to a full budget.


MEDIA CONTACT: Emily Moen, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, 773-572-5172


Thresholds Statement on Department of Justice Investigation of the Chicago Police Department

Chicago, IL – Recently, United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the findings of a 13-month Department of Justice civil rights investigation of the Chicago Police Department (CPD). The investigation concluded that CPD’s training for use of force and its accountability practices are inadequate and violate the constitutional rights of citizens.

Thresholds clients, like many people who are living with serious mental illnesses, can experience mental health or substance use crises that sometimes involve police, on whom we too often rely to play a role in the mental health system that is best performed by a clinician or social worker. We know that those in crisis do not always receive fair treatment and access to the help they need. We agree that there is urgent need for the CPD to undergo broad reform and implement training that equips officers and dispatchers to better handle these crises. Our clinical staff are always more comfortable when a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officer is the responder for the calls we need to make. We have seen time and time again what a difference is made for clients when they get this care. Trauma is reduced, the officers work collaboratively with our team, and the individual is better connected to future treatment. This is the model of CIT – community partnership, advocacy, and training.

We support efforts to create a stand-alone mental health unit within the CPD to support the growth and expansion of CIT training, among other possibilities. We spent the last year participating in the work of the Mayor’s Mental Health Steering committee, and we will continue to support this work to promote foundational change in the way behavioral health concerns are handled.

Thresholds wants to support law enforcement efforts by calling for models that reduce utilization of the police for behavioral health crises while providing them greater tools to perform their duties. To this end, we call on the City to invest in co-responder and post-response efforts that have had success in other major cities like Los Angeles and Denver. These innovative programs partner police with trained mental health responders, allowing both parties to do the jobs they are best trained to do. Co-responder models allow police hours of additional time to do patrol and other police work, save lives, and reduce frequency of the crisis calls. The CPD can also invest in a dedicated Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team to target high-frequency users of police intervention to help stabilize symptoms. ACT is an evidence-based treatment modality designed to serve individuals with the most significant mental health needs. We are dedicated to exploring these models, and we call on the CPD to prioritize them.

But most importantly, we need greater investment in our community treatment safety net. We should not rely on the police to staff our City’s mental health and substance use response. We need the City and state to invest in community treatment services. We need to continue to build connections between providers and law enforcement, hospitals and emergency rooms, and the justice system.

We know what works – we need continued investment and effort from our City government and the CPD to get it done. Thresholds remains ready to keep partnering with them to ensure that everyone gets the mental health and substance use treatment they need and deserve.

Media Contact: Emily Moen, Director of Public Relations and Marketing, 773-572-5172

Donor Spotlight – Leo S. Guthman Fund

Donor Spotlight – Leo S. Guthman Fund

Leo S. Guthman Foundation This month, Thresholds proudly features the Leo S. Guthman Fund in our Donor Spotlight. The Leo S. Guthman Fund is committed to improving people’s lives and strengthening communities.
By supporting programs and organizations that empower vulnerable people, improve health, and encourage youth leadership, the Leo S. Guthman Fund helps individuals rise above the challenges they face. Since 2003, the Fund has provided funding to more than 300 organizations, impacting the lives of thousands of people.

One of the programs that the Leo S. Guthman Fund has generously supported is the Thresholds Women Veterans Health Initiative (WVHI). Women veterans are the fastest growing subgroup of veterans and, consequently, the fastest growing segment of veterans facing hardships like PTSD, homelessness, and substance abuse. In 2013, Thresholds launched the Women Veterans Health Initiative (WVHI), as part of our Veterans Project, to meet the unique needs of female service members. Now entering its fourth year, the WVHI delivers a range of services including therapies and peer supports from female staff, many of whom are past or current service members. The WVHI works in tandem with the Veterans Project to provide women veterans with mental illness the full range of housing, health, and support services that are vital to recovery from mental illness.

Thresholds is grateful to the Leo S. Guthman Fund for its generous support of the Women Veterans Health Initiative. Thank you for believing in our work and for believing in the brave women we serve. We could not do this without you!

Call Governor Rauner TODAY – The Health of Millions is at Stake


Congressional leaders have signaled their intentions to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (the ACA, also known as Obamacare) and fundamentally weaken Medicaid as soon as January 2017. Health coverage for over 1 million Illinoisans is at stake and we need you to speak out for all the progress we have made.

Congress has asked Governor Rauner for input on how they should change the ACA and Medicaid. The Governor has until January 6th to respond, and we must act now to make sure he conveys how important these programs are for our community.




Call Governor Rauner at 312-814-2121(Chicago) OR 217-782-0244 (Springfield) TODAY and let him know what health care means to you and your community! When you call, use the following script:

Hello, my name is _____ and I am a resident of Illinois. Governor Rauner should tell Congress that Illinois benefits from the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid and refuses to move backward. I urge Governor Rauner to stand strong to protect health care access provided by the ACA and Medicaid.


Here are some additional talking points to use if you need:

Protect Our Care!
It would be a moral outrage to strip people of the lifesaving coverage they have under Obamacarewithout an immediate plan for a replacement that does not cause millions of people to become uninsured. Delaying a replacement would be harmful to Illinoisans and cause chaos to the insurance markets. Here’s more information about what’s at stake in Illinois.

No Medicaid Block Grant or Caps!
Medicaid is vital for Illinois communities. Medicaid keeps kids healthy and allows them to do better in school; it helps seniors and people with disabilities stay in their homes instead of institutional care. Medicaid expansion has provided coverage to 650,000 new adults, improving access to a wide range of critical health care, including preventive care, chronic disease management, and mental health and substance use disorder services. Block grants and caps will halt this progress in its tracks by forcing a multi-billion dollar cut in federal support, which is both the aim and the effect of block grants and caps.

We Will Not Go Back to the Pre-ACA Days!
Obamacare and Medicaid expansion protects us from discrimination against pre-existing conditions and financial ruin in a crisis; it provides insurance coverage to those who cannot afford it; it helps us work; it allows us to contribute to our communities and our state; it is critical for raising our families. We will not surrender this progress!

Share Your Story!
Share your story of how Medicaid or other health coverage helped you and your family. Have you been able to afford needed treatment? Gotten back to work? What would happen if you lost your healthcare coverage?

Please act now and make sure our state is on record as supporting health coverage for ALL our communities. For more information about the threats to Medicaid and the ACA, please check out the Keep Illinois Covered webpage and sign up to get involved. We can win this fight, but only with your help!

Donor Spotlight – McHenry County Community Foundation

Donor Spotlight – McHenry County Community Foundation

McHenry County Community FoundationThis month, Thresholds proudly features the McHenry County Community Foundation.

The McHenry County Community Foundation is a trusted community leader that works hard to build a better world in McHenry County. They provides individuals with innovative ways to use their charitable dollars for the good of the community, directing all unrestricted dollars toward local unmet needs.

The McHenry County Community Foundation is an important partner to Thresholds, most recently supporting the agency’s Homeless Outreach Program. This initiative connects individuals experiencing homelessness and mental illness to stable housing and the additional support services needed for a successful recovery.  The program places particular focus on individuals in McHenry who, because of their mental illness, have been unable to benefit from existing services. Through focused community outreach and partnerships with other service providers in the area, Thresholds identifies and supports  individuals experiencing homelessness and mental illnesses, giving them a chance to reclaim their lives and reach their full potential.

Thresholds thanks the McHenry County Community Foundation for its support.  We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with you in serving the residents of McHenry County.

Chicago Tribune Names Thresholds a Winner of The Chicago 2016 Top Workplaces Award!

Chicago Tribune Names Thresholds a Winner of The Chicago 2016 Top Workplaces Award!

Chicago Tribune's 100 Top Workplaces 2016Thresholds is honored to once again be named a 2016 Top Workplace by the Chicago Tribune. The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement.

Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug expressed his gratitude and excitement for the agency to be included on this prestigious list, sharing that this award is also an opportunity to ensure Thresholds is serving its staff members with the same standard of excellence they use to serve our clients. “Thresholds employees are what make this agency so great,” he explained, “They are dedicated to serving others and doing as much good in the world as they can, so it is our responsibility to make sure that they are also taken care of and given what they need to succeed.”

Several aspects of workplace culture were measured, including Alignment, Execution, and Connection. WorkplaceDynamics CEO Doug Claffey stated that to be a Top Workplace, “organizations must meet our strict standards for organizational health. And who better to ask about work life than the people who live the culture every day—the employees. Time and time again, our research has proven that what’s most important to them is a strong belief in where the organization is headed, how it’s going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together.”

In 2015, Thresholds was the top listed nonprofit to be named a Chicago Tribune Top 100 Workplace, ranking sixth overall on the large employer list. Thresholds was also recently named one of Chicago’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For, its third consecutive year receiving this honor.

October Donor Spotlight – Community Memorial Foundation

Donor Spotlight – Community Memorial Foundation

Thresholds happily features Community Memorial Foundation (CMF) in our October Donor Spotlight.

cmf_logo-2010Established in 1995, CMF works to improve the health of people who live and work in the western suburbs of Chicago, seeking to transform the region into the healthiest in the country. CMF brings its mission and vision to reality by funding grants that improve healthcare access, expand health and human services, build capacity, and respond to the community’s needs.

Since its founding, Community Memorial Foundation has awarded $67 million to non-profits, including Thresholds.

This past July, CMF generously awarded $21,000 to Thresholds’ Emerge West Program, which expands critical behavioral health and support services to young adults in west suburban Cook and southeastern DuPage counties.  Emerge West is a program designed to help 18 – 26 year-olds with behavioral health challenges transition into adulthood and become participating members of the community. Emerge staff provide clients with trauma-focused dialectical behavior therapy, supported employment, medication management, and socializing activities. Emerge also engages in intensive outreach efforts, conducting education workshops and connecting with schools, hospitals, and mental health providers to ensure individuals who need our services are aware of and connected to them.

Thresholds thanks CMF for helping launch this new program. CMF’s generous support will improve the health and well-being of individuals with mental illness, giving them the resources needed for a hopeful recovery.

Thresholds Staff Member Caity-Shea Violette Named As Part of ADA 25 Advancing Leadership’s 2017 Fellows Class

Thresholds Staff Member Caity-Shea Violette Named As Part of ADA 25 Advancing Leadership’s 2017 Fellows Class

Caity-Shea VioletteThresholds Marketing and Communications Manager, Caity-Shea Violette, joins 18 competitively selected emerging leaders with disabilities to participate in ADA 25 Advancing Leadership‘s 2017 Fellows Class. ADA 25 Advancing Leadership, an initiative of The Chicago Community Trust, was formed to build “a network of leaders with disabilities who are deeply engaged in the civic life of the Chicago region and advancing in their careers – consistent with the promise of the ADA.”

Fellows will attend a Leadership Institute retreat in January and March of 2017, as well as seeking entry to a Civic Connections Project and joining a Members Network, with support provided by Chicago Community Trust, Exelon, BMO Harris, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.

“In ADA 25 Advancing Leadership’s second year, we are delighted to see the level of interest by applicants with disabilities and the commitment from the wider community to appoint our Members to boards, commissions and task forces,” Steve Solomon, Vice President of Corporate Relations, Exelon, said. “We welcome the 2017 Fellows to our network and know this diverse group holds great promise for the future of the Chicago region.”

In addition to her work at Thresholds, Caity-Shea is also a national award-winning playwright and actress whose work explores trauma, invisible disabilities, and gender-based violence.


Thresholds offers Blue Island a compassionate, community-based approach to substance use treatment and recovery

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Thresholds offers Blue Island a compassionate, community-based approach to substance use treatment and recovery

CHICAGO—Thresholds, Chicago’s largest and oldest provider of comprehensive mental health services, announces it will offer outpatient-based services for substance use treatment from their location in Blue Island, IL.

Thresholds’ first substance use treatment program aims to provide south suburban Cook County outpatient-based care needed for helping people achieve sustained recovery. Staff work closely with people who have alcohol and substance use concerns as well as their families. The program welcomes individuals who are questioning whether they have a problem with alcohol and/or drugs, as well as individuals who are seeking successfully step down from hospital or residential care, in order to maintain their recovery goals once they return home.

Thresholds Substance Use Treatment Program in Blue Island“Thresholds has a long history of providing person-centered, recovery-focused behavioral health services that help people to live independent and healthy lives. Our substance use treatment program is built with the same model,” says Tim Devitt, Vice President of Clinical Operations at Thresholds. “Asking for help for a substance use concern can be difficult. We understand that and stand ready to help people develop their individual pathways for recovery, with support from us and the people they want to include in their care.”

“As substance use, including alcohol and marijuana, continues to rise in our communities, Thresholds is committed to meeting the increased need for services in the greater Chicagoland area,” says Gabriela Zapata-Alma, Substance Use Treatment Program Director. “Our program is designed to be particularly sensitive to each individuals’ goals and history. We respect each person as the expert on their life, and seek to partner with and empower them in their recovery.

Thresholds provides Outpatient and Intensive Outpatient Services that are person-centered, trauma-informed, holistic, and supported by strong research evidence. Group and individual counseling services, including therapy, case management, family and couples counseling, and medication assisted treatment to address drug and alcohol cravings and withdrawal, are offered through the program. The length of treatment and services provided are based on individual needs and preferences. Integrated treatment is available for those who seek both mental health and substance use support. Currently, the program is only offered to adults and will soon be open to adolescents.

Desired outcomes include overall improvements in health and recovery from substance use, such as reduction in usage of substances, mental health stabilization, improvements in family and social relationships, and increased involvement in employment, educational pursuits, and contributions to the community. Thresholds plans to next expand to additional locations in the north suburbs, west suburbs, and north Chicago, as well as working with the Chicago Police Department to offer treatment rather than arrest to persons with substance use concerns.

Thresholds is a nationally recognized industry leader in mental health, housing and employment services for persons with mental illnesses. For many years, Thresholds has provided the Evidence-Based Practice of Integrated Dual Disorders Treatment, which provides services to persons with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.

Contact: Emily Moen,, 773-572-5172


Senator Dick Durbin Blue Island Thresholds Substance Use VisitIn July 2016, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin paid a visit to Thresholds location in Blue Island.


Thresholds Home Health Hope

It’s Mental Illness Awareness Week!

Mental Illness Awareness Week at Thresholds

It’s Mental Illness Awareness Week!

The first week of October is dedicated to raising awareness of mental illnesses. Thresholds is proud to participate, alongside NAMI and other organizations nationwide.

We hope you’ll help us spread awareness, educate the public, and advocate for our clients and all individuals experiencing mental illnesses. Listed below are a couple of ways that you can take an active role in Mental Illness Awareness Week.

Thresholds’ social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) will feature posts about mental health. Like, share, comment, retweet, repost, etc. to educate and raise awareness.

Our friends at NAMI want to replace stigma with hope. Visit their website to take their pledge. Share it on social media and encourage others to do the same.

LIMELIGHT is only a few weeks away! Thresholds stands up to stigma in style at LIMELIGHT, our annual concert event dedicated to illuminating the need for mental health awareness and eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. It will be an unforgettable evening that inspires guests with powerful messaging and delights with delicious food and an incredible performance by singer-songwriter and seven-time Grammy nominee Joan Osborne!  

Invite your friends and family to attend the event, enter into the raffle, or make a donation. This is a fun and exciting night to support Thresholds’ efforts for mental health.

Limelight 2016 presented by Associated Bank