Ecker Center grateful for Mental Health Champions

  • David Hughes

    David Hughes

  • Katie Petray

    Katie Petray

Submitted by Ecker Center for Mental Health
Posted5/15/2019 10:31 PM

The Ecker Center for Mental Health joins NAMI Kane County North in celebrating the lives of mental health champion: Katie Petray and mental health therapist/administrator David Hughes.

Katie Petray was an outspoken advocate for people with mental illness. Her passion was threefold: to obtain increased national and state funding for mental illness, to stamp out the 'stigma' attached to mental illness, and to educate and assist people with mental illness and their families. She wrote letters to newspaper editors and politicians, visited Congressmen and women on the Hill, and spoke at local, state, and national conferences of the National Association for Mental Illness. A dedicated volunteer, she was instrumental in bringing the NAMI national Family-to-Family Education Program into Illinois, and served as the Illinois State Director for 14 years. Petray was the national NAMI video chairman for 10 years.


Petray was one of four founding members of the NAMI Kane County group and became its first president in 1987. She served as president of the Ecker Center Board as well as a board member. She was a member of the Elgin State Hospital Human Rights Committee and also enjoyed serving on the Awareness Committee for the Kane County Mental Health Council. Petray passed away on May 2, 2019.

The Ecker Center is grateful for the contributions of David L. Hughes, a licensed clinical social worker who passed away on May 4, 2019. Hughes was a therapist at the Ecker Center for 21 years and an administrator at the Elgin Mental Health Center for many years. He also served at other social service agencies in the Fox River Valley. His long career in mental health counseling enriched many lives with his wise council. He will long be remembered for his kindness, patience and dry wit.

"The Ecker Center expresses enormous gratitude for these two mental health champions who improved the lives of so many," CEO Karen Beyer said. "Mental wellness is an important goal and we are stronger because of Katie and David's contributions during their lifetime."

Ecker Center for Mental Health is nonprofit community mental health center accredited by The Joint Commission. The agency provides comprehensive mental health services to residents of Kane and western Cook Counties and to other individuals, if they have Medicaid, Medicare or other insurance that the agency accepts.

To request an appointment, call (847) 695-0484. For information, visit


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