AURORA, Ill. – Across the state, countless Illinoisans are dealing with mental health challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only intensified this problem. In recognition of their needs, state Rep. Barbara Hernandez, D-Aurora, has been working hard to improve mental health care and strengthen suicide prevention measures in our schools.
“Mental health problems like depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts are afflicting countless Illinoisans, and it has only gotten worse during the Coronavirus pandemic,” Hernandez said. “People facing these challenges deserve as much medical assistance as it takes to make their conditions managable. Just as important, this care needs to be affordable. Therapy and prescription drugs will not be helpful if they are paired with financially-crippling fees.”
With recents votes for laws to expand insurance coverage of mental health-related prescriptions, mental health councilors and telehealth services, Hernandez has made significant progress making mental health care more accessible. September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and Hernandez is taking this opportunity to raise awareness of the resources available to people in crisis.
- Those experiencing suicidal thoughts should call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
- Texting NAMI at 741-741 will connect anyone dealing with serious mental health problems to a free crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.
- Anyone facing a medical emergency should immediately call 911.
“We’ve made good progress addressing mental health problems, but the issue is bigger than providing prescriptions and doctors,” Hernandez said. “Access to these services is only helpful if people are willing to engage with them. Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is an opportunity to reflect on how positive attitudes towards mental health care can help those who are suffering. Many avoid asking for help because of the stigma associated with mental health care; changing that outlook will save lives.”