SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – After listening to concerns from her Women’s Legislative Advisory Committee regarding mental health evaluations for our children, state Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, began working with the Illinois Department of Public Health to establish new rules concerning how mental health evaluations are reported on school medical forms.
“We need to ensure we are doing everything within our power to identify potential risk factors and issues that impact children’s mental and emotional well-being,” Manley said. “School physicals that include this evaluation tool, will give parents and doctors the opportunity to discuss the needs of each individual student. Improving this process will allow doctors to provide awareness and education for parents.”
Currently, state law mandates that parents provide proof of at least four doctor visits before a student may enter high school. During these examinations, doctors are required to complete forms to update schools and parents on a child’s growth and health. In recent years, however, doctors have increasingly failed to submit forms that indicate the child’s mental health was evaluated and discussed with their parents. Members of Manley’s Women’s Legislative Advisory Committee shared their concerns with her. With their input, Manley is working with the Department of Public Health to improve discussions and reporting on the school medical forms.
“The members of my advisory committee are professionals working in education and in the mental and behavior health fields, as well as, parents and community leaders,” Manley said. “They all understand the importance of identifying mental health issues early and want to make sure that parents and doctors are addressing issues as they arise. The committee’s focus is on ensuring that educational discussions lead by providers about our children’s mental health will occur and ultimately help students’ live happier and healthier lives.”
For more information, please contact Manley’s constituent service office at 815-725-2741 or RepManley@gmail.com.