Resources for Mental Health

From my first days as a State Representative, I have been focused on helping people in our district and across Illinois get access to affordable, professional mental health care.

As we mark Mental Health Awareness Month, I think it’s useful to look back on some of the progress we’ve made:

  • We passed SB 3617, which made it easier for out-of-state mental health clinicians to get licensed in Illinois and increased the number of beds in residential mental health treatment centers.
  • We passed HB 2595, which guaranteed insurance coverage for medically necessary mental healthcare services, starting on January 1 of last year.
  • We also passed HB 3308, which requires insurance reimbursement parity for virtual mental health and substance use disorder services.

More recently, HB 2784 established a coordinated first responder system that integrates 911 and the new 988 emergency response numbers, specifically for mental health emergencies. This bill aims to reduce the number of arrests for people with mental illnesses, by calling in a specialized, mobile response intervention team rather than a police unit.

Here in our district, I also have been working to help people in DuPage County access the services that are available:

  • We worked with mental health advocates to hold a Mental Health Town Hall, to talk about what the state of Illinois is doing to promote mental health, where gaps exist in our mental health safety net, and how we can do more to help people who are living with mental illness.
  • My office hosted a Mental Health Roundtable with representatives from more than 20 organizations and agencies that serve people throughout DuPage County. By bringing people together, we were able to spark some conversations about how to collaborate to improve access to mental health services.
  • Last fall, my office teamed up with other legislators to host a Mental Health Resource Fair at College of DuPage, to showcase organizations throughout DuPage County that provide mental health resources and support.
  • We also launched the DuPage Council on Strengthening the System for Mental Health and Substance Use Care.

In addition, my office created a comprehensive guide to mental health resources available in DuPage County, which we sent to all of our constituents. (You can find a PDF of the brochure here.)

I think that’s one of the greatest strengths of this office. As State Representatives, we have the power to change laws, and we also are close enough to our constituents to join forces with community members to put those laws and resources to work.

As a member of the House Committee on Mental Illness and Addiction, I am going to keep on working to expand treatments and prevention services. Although we’ve made some good strides, we need to keep on finding new, effective ways to help the many people whose lives are affected by mental illness.

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