Simmons MediaAdvisorySPRINGFIELD – Disparities in mental health care and rising suicide rates among Black individuals are multifaceted and deeply concerning issues that warrant comprehensive exploration and action.

To raise awareness of the unique challenges faced by Black communities when it comes to mental health and well-being, State Senator Mike Simmons will explore the intersectionality of this issue with various socio-economic, cultural and historical factors in conversations with legislators and advocates at a subject matter hearing Wednesday in tandem with the beginning of Mental Health Month.

WHO: State Senator Mike Simmons (D-Chicago); Rafiah Maxey-Cole, Soul Survivors of Chicago; Dr. Donell Barnett, Illinois Department of Human Services Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery; Mariam Smith Taylor, Lake City National Alliance on Mental Health; Charles George, Shoot for Stars; Clinician Leila Ellis Nelson, Center for Education Equity; Iggy Ladden, Chicago Therapy Collective founder and executive director; Eric Metcalf, DuPage National Alliance on Mental Health; and Charles Hardwick, Rogers Park resident.

WHAT: A subject matter hearing on rising suicide rates among African American communities across Illinois.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 1 at 10 a.m.

WHERE: Room 409, Illinois State Capitol and live on