SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A measure sponsored by state Rep. Mary Edly-Allen, D-Libertyville, aiming to increase awareness of mental health for law enforcement was signed into law recently.
“In recent years, we have seen a troubling trend in which more law enforcement officers are losing their battle with mental illness and dying by suicide,” Edly-Allen said. “First responders deal with a disproportionate amount of stress on the job. The daily stress and trauma builds up, and too many of our law enforcement officers struggle from mental health challenges as a result. The first step to address the issue and remove the stigma is through education. The additional requirement of information on stress and suicide to law enforcement training is one way to begin the process of making sure our officers are safe and healthy.”
House Bill 2767 requires law enforcement officers to undergo training in recognizing signs and symptoms of workplace-related cumulative stress, issues that may lead to suicide, officer wellness and peer support resources available. Officers would undergo training every three years. The Illinois Sheriff’s Association, Fraternal Order of Police the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center, and the Illinois Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention all supported this measure.
“As communities, we are dealing with mental health crises in our schools, hospitals, and workplaces, and as a member of the House Mental Health Committee I’m committed to working to eliminate the stigma of mental illness,” Edly-Allen added. “This new law will better equip law enforcement with tools to help them understand what they may be experiencing, and hopefully will help some of our brave first responders reach out for help when they need it. Asking for help with a mental health issue is never a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength.”
Visit Rep. Mary Edly-Allen’s website
235-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
1585 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Libertyville, IL 60048