State Senator Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry) is one of four Illinois lawmakers appointed to serve on the Advisory Council on Early Identification and Treatment of Mental Health Conditions.
“Together, it is my hope that we, as policy makers, will have a better understanding of the obstacles those with mental health conditions face and develop a more effective, more comprehensive approach to enabling the thousands of children, youth, and youth adults living with mental health conditions to get the early diagnosis and treatment they need to effectively manage their condition and avoid potentially life-long debilitating symptoms,” said Sen. Althoff.
The advisory council will look at how the State of Illinois can improve access to mental health treatment in Illinois, and will be required to submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly within one year of the first meeting of the advisory council.
Althoff, who was a sponsor of the legislation (HB 3502) creating the advisory council, says she is eager to begin working with her colleagues and key players in the mental health realm.
“On average, it takes ten years for a child or young adult with a mental health condition to receive the right diagnosis and treatment. That’s why it’s so important that we find and implement best practices on early screening, identification, and treatment of mental health conditions,” said Sen. Althoff. “Suicide, often due to untreated depression, is the second leading cause of death in Illinois for those 10 to 34. This is something we can’t take lightly any longer.”
The advisory council is comprised of no more than 27 members and three ex officio members including:
- One member of each legislative caucus (4 total)
- One representative of the Governor
- 22 members of the public which include:
- four pediatricians
- four primary care physicians
- two advanced practice nurses
- two psychiatrists
- two psychologists
- one representative who is a parent of a child living with a mental health condition
- two community mental health service providers
- two substance use treatment providers
- one representative who has lived with a mental health condition
- two representatives from private insurance companies
- Three ex officio members:
- Director of Public Health
- Director of Healthcare and Family Services
- Director of the Division of Mental Health within the Department of Human Services