BLOOMINGDALE, Ill. – State Rep. Diane Pappas, D-Itasca, is working to make mental health care accessible for all Illinoisans with her backing of a new law requiring mental health training courses for all school personnel.
“No one struggling with mental illness, especially our students, should have to face their issues without support,” Pappas said. “We owe our kids comprehensive assistance for both physical and mental challenges. This issue is not just about ensuring our children are safe and healthy, it is a matter of getting everyone the education they deserve. When students are forced to tackle mental health problems, they end up disengaged from school, which can have an adverse impact on their futures if left untreated.”
Pappas supported Senate Bill 1731, which requires all school personnel responsible for kids in Kindergarten through 12th grade be trained to handle mental health issues. These issues include depression, bipolar disorder and substance abuse, among others. This legislation received strong bipartisan support and is now law.
“Doctors and nurses aren’t the only health care providers; teachers, social workers and other faculty members need to have the training to identify and help students who are suffering from mental illness,” Pappas said. “This new law will ensure that adults that interact with young people every day are trained to help students when mental health problems strike.”