SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To advocate for early intervention of mental illness in children and teens, state Rep. Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg, recently assisted legislation out of the House Elementary and Secondary Education: School Curriculum and Policies Committee to include mental health screenings in student health examinations.
“The purpose of student health examinations is to ensure that children and teens are receiving the care they need. As it stands, the current law does not take mental health into consideration during a health screening,” Mussman said. “This legislation will help make sure that a student’s overall health is properly evaluated, not just his or her physical wellbeing.”
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five children ages 13 to 18 have or will have a serious mental illness, and the average delay between the onset of symptoms and treatment is nearly 10 years. Currently, student health examinations include dental exams, screenings for asthma and obesity and age-appropriate social and emotional testing. Mussman’s House Bill 2188 adds questions on a student’s family history of mental health to the social and emotional components of a health examination in order to help identify and more quickly address potential mental health conditions.
“We must take mental health treatment seriously, and this legislation is a step in the right direction,” Mussman said. “Including these screenings in student examinations will help us provide the proper care that is needed for mental health conditions as early as possible and ensure better futures for our children.”
For more information, please contact Rep. Mussman’s constituent service office at 847-923-9104 or StateRepMussman@gmail.com.