“Every day, I work towards the goal of achieving true mental health parity because we can see how important mental health is to overall health and well-being,” said Conroy. “While at the mental health hospital, I met with children who have further helped to shape my perspective on a system that is bursting at the seams. We have to do more to guarantee access to mental health resources.”
Conroy fears that the state of Illinois may be keeping children in mental health hospitals for a longer period of time than needed, which doesn’t help the child, healthcare provider, future patients, or taxpayer. As a mental health advocate, Conroy has fought for increased education and dialogue about mental health, as well as measures forcing insurance companies to cover the cost of mental healthcare services.
“We have a mental health crisis in our state and our children are suffering because of it,” Conroy added. “No child should be left in a hospital beyond medical necessity simply because we have nowhere to send them where they can receive safe, effective treatment and care. We must provide the resources our most vulnerable residents need so that we can restore hope for all of our youth struggling with mental health issues.”