As the new President and CEO of Heritage, I want to introduce myself and share what I see as Heritage’s future. 

I am humbled and honored to have been chosen as the next President and CEO of Heritage Behavioral Health Center.  Heritage has just embarked on its 66th year as the foundation of mental health and substance use services in central Illinois and I cannot wait to move Heritage forward for many more years to come!

So you have a sense of my background, let me share a bit about myself. First, I am a mom to my son (Sam Napolitano, pride and joy, age 30, lives in Bloomington, IL) and I am a life partner to David Horn (love of my life, Millikin Professor of Biology, Decatur City Councilman). I have lived in Decatur since 2010 (and commuted from Bloomington since 2005 when I started at Millikin University so my son could graduate from his high school) and have loved every moment. 

I come to this role with many years of experience in the arena of community mental health/behavioral health. I have been a fierce advocate and educator working to impact communities to embrace those impacted by mental health and/or substance use issues. My work experience includes positions in day treatment and psychosocial rehabilitation programs as well as group homes and community support services including case management and crisis.

I have spent many years in academia championing mental health presenting at local, national, and international conferences, publishing in journals and co-authored a book “Your Playbook for Beating Depression: Essential Strategies for Managing and Living with Depression.” I had the wonderful opportunity to engage in private practice while in academia and helped create a comprehensive library social work services program at our library here in Decatur. My board member engagement and advocacy work through Kennedy Forum Illinois, NAMI Illinois, and the Farm Family Resource Initiative (FFRI) allow me to continue to champion mental health and substance use concerns…I pride myself on being a voice for those in need of these valuable services.

I offer all of this so you have a sense of who I am…I am (and I’ll boast a bit)…a proud social worker, a fierce advocate, a caring and supportive mentor, a committed problem solver, and an effective mediator. 

My leadership style is collaborative, mission-driven, and strategic. My vision is to ensure that Heritage provides services to those in need and that ACCESS is guaranteed…NOW.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to lead this wonderful organization and I look forward to making Heritage the FLAGSHIP agency in our community. As we know, addressing mental health and substance use, while addressing our physical health, is essential for all of us to thrive.

I welcome your thoughts, feedback, and comments and I hope that I will meet your expectations as the President and CEO of Heritage Behavioral Health Center. It is a true honor to serve our community.


Mary Garrison (MG), LCSW, ACSW

President and CEO, Heritage Behavioral Health Center

The Latest News from Heritage


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September 2022

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Heritage Reminds You to

Look for the Helpers

We are reminded of when Mr. Fred Rogers shared, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in the world." 


This is a really comforting thought. A lot of us are wondering, waiting and hoping that life will go back to “normal” soon, but honestly, well, we don’t really know when or if that will happen. There are just to many unknowns.


That's why it's important to give ourselves grace during this unusual time in our lives and remember that we are human. Events like this one can be scary and stressful. We may experience sadness, frustration or perhaps even hopelessness. And that's okay. After all, we are human.  During this difficult time, please access and share these resources with others when needed (all are resources are free and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week):

Crisis workers are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You may reach them by calling (217) 362-6262 (dial 1 for a crisis worker).


Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255

Text an anonymous crisis counselor: 741741

Trevor Project Hotline (LGBTQ+): 1-866-488-7386

Trevor Project Text Line: 678678