Illinois youth are set to receive mental health education in the classroom

Springfield- Young people in Illinois are set to receive specialized education on mental health resources after a measure championed by State Sen. Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) cleared a key hurdle.

“This measure fills a critical gap in the support systems we need to provide our young people to be able to stay emotionally healthy,” Simmons said. “Our young people have been so resilient over the past few years, but many of the broader issues amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic have put a strain on the mental health of our young people. It is imperative that we prioritize the mental health and well-being of our young people and center the experiences they express and actually live.

Senate Bill 4028 would ensure that elementary and secondary school curricula would be required to include how and where to find mental health resources in the state. The measure helps educate students about the mental health services available to them and helps break down the broader stigma behind mental health.

The measure was partly inspired by two of Simmons’ grassroots youth legislative councils, where Simmons spoke with young people themselves about issues that matter to them, such as violence and access to mental health, as part of of its mission to empower young people to become more involved in policy-making.

“The struggle to fund adequate resources for mental health is an issue I hear time and time again when I meet young people in the district I represent,” Simmons said. “I am happy that we are one step closer to providing practical resources to support our young people directly in our schools. »

The measure was passed by the Senate Education Committee.

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