SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Committed to addressing student mental health and youth suicide concerns, state Rep. Maurice West II, D-Rockford, passed legislation Thursday in the Illinois House that further directs school districts to offer a specialized training program to employees so that they may better assist students who are developing or experiencing a mental health disorder.

“Mental health issues can escalate, and many youth may not know where to turn,” West said. “It’s also difficult for educators and other school employees who may recognize that there is a problem, but don’t know how to address the situation. By providing specific training on the subject of mental health, I’m hopeful that we can ensure that students receive the care they need and deserve.”

West served as the chief House sponsor of Senate Bill 1731, an initiative of the Illinois Association of Behavioral Health, which allows school districts to use the Department of Human Services’ Illinois Mental Health First Aid training program to prepare employees on how to identify and take action for mental health issues. The measure follows legislation passed last year that required all licensed school personnel and administrators who work with students between kindergarten and 12th grade to be trained at least once every two years to identify the warning signs of mental illness and suicidal behavior. Under the training program, certified instructors provide employees examples of best practices to address mental health concerns, as well as how to refer cases to professional assistance if needed.

The measure passed with bipartisan support without opposition, and now heads to the governor’s desk for approval.

“Suicide is a devastating and personal topic that has a lasting impact,” West said. “We need to proactively do whatever we can to prevent it from affecting our children, and this legislation will help.”


Rep. Maurice WestRep. Maurice West

67th District

Visit Rep. Maurice West’s website

Springfield Office:
237-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-3167

District Office:
200 S. Wyman
Suite 304
Rockford, IL 61101
(815) 987-7433