SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The legislative session has just began for members of the General Assembly, but new state Rep. Karina Villa, D-West Chicago, hit the ground running last week by passing a bill out of the House Mental Health Committee’s first meeting of the year with unanimous, bipartisan support.
“Teaching students about mental health from an early age will save lives – there is no doubt about it,” Villa said. “As a school social worker, I’ve seen firsthand that equipping young people with the tools and knowledge they need to cope with mental health issues can be the difference between success and failure in an academic environment.”
Villa’s House Bill 205 would require health education curriculum to include instruction about mental health and illness, including information about the indisputable relationship between physical and mental health.
“One out of five people live with a mental illness, and over half of these individuals begin to show symptoms at just 14 years old. Having a mental health condition is very common, but unfortunately there is still a stigma attached to talking about it and asking for help,” Villa said. “We can only end the stigma through education, and this legislation would ensure that all Illinois students will have access to crucial information about their mental health.”