Local Issues Director: Lois Walter, The League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn
Our chapter of the League follows major issues of interest to our membership; each area is the responsibility of a local issues director. They track legislation and items of particular timely interest. Our Observer Corps attends meetings to report back to the board and members on key issues.
LATEST REPORT: April 2019
Update from State Representative Terra Costa Howard regarding the Mental Health Modernization Bill. She says it did not make it out of committee last week and was returned to rules. State Representative Deb Conway ,Chairman of the House Mental Health Committee, says It will be delayed until the next session.
There are more than 35 house bills dealing with Mental Health this session and 15 Senate Bills. They are to voted upon. Here is a link that briefly summaries the bills to be considered.
For more detailed summaries goes to http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/
Starting April 22, NAMI-Dupage will have a new Executive Director Geri Kerger.
"Kerger has more than 16 years of experience in non-profit development, served as the Director of Women’s Services for the YWCA in Glen Ellyn, and as a member of the DuPage County Mental Health Advisory Board. Kerger received a BA in Sociology, Master’s in Guidance and Counseling, and her Juris Doctor. As an attorney, she taught at several local colleges including College of DuPage and National Louis University."
See the website Mental Health America which promotes the philosophy of B4Stage 4.
It suggests the need to recognize symptoms of mental illness early ,perhaps in childhood, and taking action which may prevent or lessen a more serious diagnosis later (possibly up to ten years} . Early warning signs are listed and various factors to be considered - genes, biology, environment and lifestyle. Excellent screening tools are included on the website.
Mental Health: Mental Health concerns seem to be featured almost daily in the media .There may be increasing efforts to highlight mental illness and what could be done to provide care. Hopefully this increased attention will reduce stigma. If stigma is reduced and people seek help sooner there could be better outcomes for all.
NAMI reports that:
*1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience mental illness in a given year
*90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness
*70% of youth in juvenile justice system have at least one mental health condition, and limited access to care and support
Given these statistics, why is it that state & federal funding for mental health programs has and continues to significantly decrease? We need to make our voices heard on this issue. It makes economic sense given the cost to society of not addressing these issues.
Sources: DuPage County Daily Herald, Chicago Tribune, NAMI website
MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID.ORG
An 8 hour course that teaches how to help someone who may be experiencing a mental health or substance abuse challenge. For further information go to website.
ILLINOIS WARM LINE 1 866 359 7953 (Monday -Friday 8:00am-5:00pm)
Staffed by individuals in recovery from mental health/substance use conditions who have been trained in support, advocacy ,mentoring and professional responsibility. Also see Website Illinoismentalhealthcollaborative.com
OFFICIAL POSITION OF THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF ILLINOIS:
MENTAL HEALTH: The League supports a comprehensive and coordinated system of treatment and rehabilitation services for adults and children with mental illness. There should be adequate funding, planning, program standards, and personnel training requirements for both state facilities and community programs. The League supports a broad array of adequate and accessible community services. Although primary responsibility should rest with the state, funding from local, federal, and non-governmental sources should be encouraged. A system of local boards to levy taxes, administer all funds, and to plan and coordinate services should be required throughout the state. The State should require local governments to provide in their zoning ordinances for residential programs for persons with mental illness.