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: November, 2018
In the State of Illinois, our neighboring representative, Deb Conroy,District 46 has been reelected. She has been and I assume will continue to be the Chairman of the Mental Health Committee in the State Legislature. This includes the following subcommittees. Childhood and Young Adult Onset, Justice System, and Substance Abuse. At this time there is no legislation assigned to these committees. Her local office is in Villa Park and her telephone number is 630 415 3520. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
In Dupage County, The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Dupage County (NAMI Dupage) announced that Angela Atkins, Executive Director of NAMI Dupage passed away on September 28 of this year due to complications from cancer. She had many accomplishments. Among them "She oversaw the growth of Ending the Silence to where it is now a Signature NAMI program taught across the nation" . There is a You Tube video of this educational effort being used in high schools. It is well worth watching.
Also in Dupage County, ,A three year $400,000 Students Teachers Officers Preventing Grant has been awarded to the Dupage Regional Office of Education to initiate a countywide mental health training program. Dupage County will provide matching funding of $133,000. Use of the grant will include focused training to address the needs of students exhibiting troubled signs of adverse childhood experiences or trauma.
In the Nation, we now have a resource established by The Affordable Care Act of 2010 to create optional Medicaid Health Homes to coordinate care for people on Medicaid who have chronic problems." Health Home providers will integrate and coordinate all primary, acute, behavioral health, and long term services and supports to treat the whole person". Illinois is one of 22 states that have established these "homes".*A recently released government report states that opioid overdose Emergency Room cases increased 30% in a one-year period, summer 2016 to summer 2017. Overdose deaths also increased.
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.