ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – In order to ensure that kids are able to get the help they need when they have mental health troubles, state Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, passed a measure which was signed into law that will help treat children who are starting fires, which is often a sign of underlying mental health issues.
“While some children start fires out of curiosity, firesetting can be a sign of severe mental health issues or other problems in a child’s life,” said Manley. “We cannot allow these signs to go ignored and leave children to suffer, which is why my bill will ensure that children who are starting fires are evaluated and treated as needed.”
According to the American Psychological Association, there are a number of reasons that a youth may start a fire, including curiosity, using it as a cry for help and to get attention, or underlying mental health issues. To ensure that children that need treatment are not being left without help, Manley passed HB 2372, which creates the position of the Youth Firesetter Interventionist Coordinator. The coordinator will oversee youth firesetter interventionists, who are deployed to assist kids who have previously set fires by evaluating the child and determining if and what treatment is necessary to help stop firesetting behaviors and address any underlying mental health issues the child may have.
As a state representative, Manley has worked to ensure that residents have access to the mental health services they need. This year, she helped pass a bill requiring insurance plans to cover one free mental health prevention visit per year. Manley also helped pass legislation requiring insurance providers to cover medically necessary mental health care services, helping residents get the care they need without breaking the bank.
“Ensuring that everyone, regardless of their financial means, has the ability to get mental health care is important, especially for children,” said Manley. “No one should have to suffer and let mental health issues linger untreated, which is why I will continue to work in Springfield to improve our mental health care capacity and help connect residents with the treatment that they need.”