ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) —– With hundreds of new laws going into effect at the start of the new year, mental health jumps to the forefront, with close to a dozen new pieces of legislation hitting the books.
From requiring mental health and illness instruction in school health classes to providing mental health exams for students that make school threats before placing them in the juvenile court system, mental health service professionals say the new wave of laws directly impact thousands of people across the Stateline, providing necessary resources to communities that need it most.
“We look at cancer different today than we did 30 years ago. We look at HIV/AIDS differently than we did 30-40 years ago, and it all started in the same type of way. How do we start, not only setting up legislation, so that it requires us to do this, but it also, as we then implement that legislation, implement that sanctions, how do we make that an everyday part of our language,” said Kevin Polky, KP Counseling.
Other laws going into effect this week include the Illinois Mental Health First Aid Training Program, which gives teacher mental health instruction to better help their students, as well as federal funding for maternal mental health.