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West Introduces Resolution Encouraging Schools to Focus on Mental Health of Students

News… From State Representative Maurice A. West II

December 27, 2019


ROCKFORD, Ill. – State Rep. Maurice West II, D-Rockford, has introduced a resolution calling on Illinois schools to provide education to all students between 6th and 12th grades on how to identify, understand and respond to signs of addiction and mental illness.

“Statistics show that mental health disorders affect about one in six American children,” West said. “When children face mental health problems or have to deal with constant bullying, it becomes easier to turn to alcohol, drugs and other unhealthy outlets. That’s why it’s important that schools are able to provide insight on how students can effectively receive help.”

West’s House Joint Resolution 95 outlines how bullying and other mental health disorders are not uncommon within schools. According to the University of Illinois’ 2018 Illinois Youth Survey, 58% of 12th grade students reported using alcohol, tobacco, inhalants or marijuana within the past year. West’s resolution also notes the concerning fact that suicide is the leading cause of death among individuals aged 10 to 34.

“Schools are the most effective place to teach children on how to identify and respond to signs of personal substance abuse and mental health concerns,” West said. “I encourage every school in Illinois to treat mental health education as a priority, and to make sure they are proactively addressing potential addiction and mental health problems with their students.”