SPRINGFIELD… State Representative David Leitch (R-Peoria) announced today that two bills he sponsored to improve mental health services in Illinois have both cleared the Illinois House.
HB 3599, which passed the Illinois House unanimously on Tuesday, creates the Student Optional Disclosure of Private Mental Health Act. Under provisions of the act, students would be provided the opportunity to pre-authorize in writing the disclosure of certain private mental health information to a designated person. The bill was suggested to Rep. Leitch by Kim and Mike Predmore of Bartonville. The Predmores tragically lost their son, Chris, to suicide. Mike Predmore urged passage of the bill in emotional testimony presented in the Judiciary-Civil Committee in March. “We understand that not every student will take advantage of this opportunity, but if it helps save the life of even one student- it’s worth it and will help raise mental health awareness on college campuses in Illinois,” said Mike Predmore in his committee testimony on March 18th.
“This idea is simple, but very important. This bill enables students to voluntarily pre-authorize release of certain information to a designee like a parent if they have ongoing mental health issues. Now, when a student turns 18, such notifications are prohibited. Under this bill, the student may pre-authorize the university professional to discuss the students’ health condition with those who need to be informed of their struggles or progress,” said Leitch from Springfield. “This is especially important for college-age youth, as this is often the time of life when mental illness can surface.”
Leitch also passed a second bill on Tuesday to increase mental health services for older Illinoisans. HB 3753, which passed 110-1-1, would integrate mental health services for older adults in primary care medical settings. “Often, mental health issues for older adults are identified at a much lower rate than other adult populations. Undiagnosed mental illness for older adults is a huge problem in our care delivery system. OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria is already moving this direction, but this bill would authorize the Illinois Department of Aging to enact the same protocols,” said Leitch.
HB 3753 is supported by AARP, the Community Behavioral Health Association of Illinois, Illinois Coalition on Mental Health & Aging, Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging, as well as the Illinois Department of Aging.
Both HB 3599 and HB 3753 will now go to the Illinois Senate for debate. Rep. Leitch can be reached at his Peoria Legislative Office at 309-690-7373.