About the Berwyn Township 708 Community Mental Health Board
A “708” Board or Community Mental Health Board is established by a community, municipality, or township for the purposes of planning and funding mental health, developmental disability, and substance abuse services. Berwyn Township 708 Community Mental Health Board is a behavioral health authority in Illinois. Behavioral health authorities are enabled by statute, created by referendum and supported with local tax dollars.
The Berwyn Township 708 Community Mental Health Board promotes a community based system of quality services relating to mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse. These services should be comprehensive in nature and equitably available to all residents of the Township of Berwyn.
The 708 Board will hold a meeting prior to July 1 of each year at which officers shall be elected for the ensuing year beginning July 1. The 708 Board will hold meetings at least quarterly. The 708 Board will plan, develop, review and evaluate community mental health services and facilities including services and facilities for the treatment of alcoholism, drug addiction, developmental disabilities, and intellectual disabilities. The 708 Board will consult with other appropriate private and public agencies in the development of local plans for the most efficient delivery of mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance use disorder services. The 708 Board is authorized to join and to participate in the activities of associations organized for the purpose of promoting more efficient and effective services and programs. The 708 Board annually reviews grant applications and appropriates funding for these services and programs. The 708 Board’s One & Three Year Goals are evaluated annually to ensure fiscal responsibility of local tax dollars. The Berwyn Township 708 Community Mental Health Board operates in accordance with the guidelines specified in the Illinois Compiled Statutes, Community Mental Health Act.
On October 31, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed into law the Community Mental Health Act, which drastically altered the delivery of mental health services and inspired a new era of optimism in mental healthcare. This law led to the establishment of comprehensive community mental health centers throughout the country. It helped people with mental illnesses, who were “warehoused” in hospitals and institutions, move back into their communities. (www.thenationalcouncil.org)
Through the hard work of local residents and social service agencies in our community the Berwyn Township 708 Community Mental Health Fund was established in 1974 by referendum. A Board of Directors was appointed shortly after. Initially, the 708 Board funded four agencies through local tax dollars. Currently, the 708 Board is funding 13 agencies with 25 programs.
Over the last ten years, the 708 Board has joined memberships with the Association of Community Mental Health Authorities of Illinois (ACMHAI), Illinois Public Health Association, and the Berwyn Development Corporation. The 708 Board engages in mental health continuing education as a best practice by attending seminars and conferences. The 708 Board believes that a community with good mental health is a safer community. In fiscal year 2017, the 708 Board provided funding for Mental Health First Aid Training, which was made available to all interested Berwyn Township residents and stakeholders. The 708 Board will continue to establish partnerships with other government agencies and provide programs and services to impart the importance and understanding of behavioral health care to Berwyn residents.