SPRINGFIELD School has become increasingly stressful for students, leading State Senator Rachel Ventura to spearhead legislation that would help students across Illinois reduce anxiety and focus on their physical and emotional needs during school time.

“We have to emphasize the importance of having a balance between productivity and self-care within the context of education,” said Ventura (D-Joliet). “This instills a mindset in our young people that encourages both academic achievement and the well-being of their mental health.”

Senate Bill 2872 would allow all school districts to offer a weekly 20-minute session dedicated to relaxation activities in addition to regular recess. Led by Ventura, the bill aims to improve students' physical and emotional health by emphasizing intentional downtime and self-care. It encourages schools to adopt various approaches, such as mindfulness practices, mental health education, yoga, meditation, and dedicated time for positive emotional and social development, promoting a more balanced mindset.

Statistics from the American Psychological Association show that 4.1 million children in the U.S. between the ages of 3 and 17 struggle with anxiety that stems from commonly underdiagnosed mental health issues and are heightened from burn out and environmental anxieties, such as school shootings and factors related to communities with insufficient resources.

“Balancing productivity with self-care is needed, and we are encouraging schools to incorporate more of this approach in every day practice,” said Ventura. “By providing time for students to learn relaxation techniques and focus on their mental health, they will have better outcomes in the classroom and be set up for a lifetime of knowing how to prioritize their mental health.”

Senate Bill 2872 passed through the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday.