SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Concerned that college students are not receiving the mental health resources they need, state Rep. Maurice West II, D-Rockford, recently helped pass legislation that would require public colleges to develop systems of support for students who may be experiencing mental health crises.
“For many students, college can be an incredibly stressful experience that can negatively impact their health,” West said. “Everyone responds to changes in their life differently, and it is increasingly important to have services available to assist students if they are going through a difficult time.”
West cosponsored House Bill 2152, which would create the Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act. The bill would require public colleges and universities to form panels of mental health experts to deal with issues that are common on campuses, such as depression and anxiety. Additionally, it would require higher education institutions to implement a peer to peer support program and form a partnership with local mental health service providers. The Illinois Board of Higher Education would also create a technical assistance center to support schools as they develop a mental health policy plan.
“It is not uncommon for some students to experience anxiety, panic attacks, depression and, unfortunately, suicidal thoughts during their college years,” West said. “This can be overwhelming, and that’s why it’s critical to take proactive steps to help these young adults.”