032823KP0913SPRINGFIELD – To increase the availability and accessibility of mental health resources for students, State Senator Mike Simmons advanced an initiative out of the Senate on Wednesday.

“Mental health has become a leading concern for parents and children today, yet there are still gaps in mental health care,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “This legislation will help to support youth, their families, and schools by providing support, access and resources so students can find mental health care while they are at school.”

Senate Bill 1709 would require the Illinois Department of Human Services and the State Board of Education to provide technical assistance for mental health care during school days to help increase the access students have to mental health services.

This initiative will complement the recently launched Illinois Children's Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative, specifically recommendation 5 in the report, by identifying and filling in gaps that exist in school-based mental health care. 

“Our students’ mental and physical well-being must be our top priority,” Simmons said. “We will need to triple our commitment in the next five years to shore up unmet mental health needs our youth have, and this legislation helps us move in that direction.”

Senate Bill 1709 passed the Senate on Wednesday and now heads to the House floor.