SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A new law backed by state Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport, will help students at public colleges stay safe and healthy by providing access critical mental health resources.
“It is extremely important that we address the mental health needs some of our kids are facing while they attend college,” Connor said. “Kids attending college are going without the support of their families for extended periods, often for the first time in their lives. They are in a new environment, usually feeling tremendous pressure to perform academically, and this can lead to serious mental health issues brought on by stress. We need to be there to help when they need it.”
Connor helped pass the Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act, 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 bill also calls on the Illinois Board of Higher Education create a technical assistance center to support schools’ mental health policy plan development. The bill received bipartisan support and was recently signed into law.
“College should be a great experience for every kid. It’s a time when they have the freedom to learn and grow and prepare to become an adult. That won’t happen if they’re left feeling alone to face health problems that are sure to pose a challenge for many,” Connor said. “This law will ensure our schools take significant steps to provide the help a lot of kids need.”