SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – College students will have better access to on-campus mental health services under legislation recently passed by state Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, which requires public colleges to build stronger systems of support for students struggling with their mental wellness.
“Some kids are facing significant mental health problems when they attend college,” Hernandez said. “In one of the most critical periods of their lives, they are battling anxiety, panic attacks, depression and even suicidal thoughts. Going to college can carry with it stress that may be overwhelming for some students, and we need to be there for those kids.”
Hernandez supported the Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act, or House Bill 2152, which requires Illinois 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. The legislation also requires the Illinois Board of Higher Education create a technical assistance center to support schools’ mental health policy plan development.
“One in four college students has been treated for mental health problems,” Hernandez said. “It is a serious issue that we have to ensure our schools are handling. Good mental health care will help our kids take advantage of their educational opportunities and remain happy during a potentially stressful time.”