hastings 050922FRANKFORT – As World Mental Health Day approaches on Oct. 10, State Senator Michael E. Hastings is urging Illinoisans to work together to end the stigma around mental health.

Hastings (D-Frankfort) has spent his career advocating for mental health funding and support for residents throughout the 19th Senate District. Not only this day but year round, he reiterates the importance of checking in on residents’ mental wellbeing.

“Our mental health is key in ensuring you lead a happy and healthy life,” said Hastings. “We need to work together to end this stigma and take care of ourselves.”

Hastings urges residents who are struggling or know someone else who is in need of assistance to call the Illinois Warm Line at 866-359-7953 to connect with a peer support specialist.

This year he passed House Bill 1321, a new law to provide mental health resources to the state’s first responders. This initiative was signed into law in May.

“Our first responders have difficult jobs and often find themselves in high stress situations,” said Hastings. “This new law will help provide our municipalities and law enforcement agencies provide our officers with the tools to check in on their mental health.”

Hastings championed this measure to ensure that first responders, including police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and public safety telecommunicators across Illinois have full access to supportive and responsive behavioral health services and treatment.

He also supported Senate Bill 3617 which focuses on expanding the current workforce by accelerating the process for out-of-state clinicians applying for licensure in Illinois. In Illinois, there are only 14 behavioral health care professionals for every 10,000 Illinois residents.

“I pledge to continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to help alleviate this workforce shortage,” said Hastings. “We need to continue to work together to combat this crisis and connect with lifesaving resources.”

For more information on resources available in Illinois, residents can also visit www.dhs.state.il.us.