Illinois lawmakers unveil March to Mental Health initiative

hastings 031319Legislation would improve accessibility of mental health treatment

SPRINGFIELD – A package of legislation to improve accessibility to mental health treatment was announced this morning at a news conference with Illinois lawmakers.

State Senator Michael E. Hastings is a supporter of the initiative.

“It’s no secret that we have a societal problem on our hands with the accessibility of mental health treatment,” Hastings (D-Tinley Park) said. “We must make sure those who need help are able to receive it as quickly and safely as possible. This package is a necessary step as we in the Illinois Senate look to make mental health treatments more accessible to those in need.”


State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) also voiced the importance of accessibility to mental health care.

“When left untreated, mental illness can completely sideline a person's life, leaving them less likely to pursue an education or participate in the workforce,” Bush said. “Requiring insurers to cover treatment for serious mental illnesses will save money in the long run and will help these individuals stay on track.”

“There is a stigma that is placed not only on mental health issues, but seemingly on the mere discussion of mental health itself,” Peters said. Mental health issues are real and are potentially serious, and folks who suffer from them need to be able to both talk about their issues as well as get the necessary treatment they require to get better. We need to move away from criminalizing mental health here in Illinois and in the United States.”

The legislation covered in today's mental health press conference regarding access to treatments: Senate Bills 35, 1135, 1188, 1715 and 1716.

Sen. Michael E. Hastings

hastings 150

Majority Caucus Whip
19th Legislative District

Years served: 2012 - Present

Committee assignments: Commerce and Economic Development; Energy and Public Utilities (Chairperson); Executive Appointments; Executive; Insurance; Judiciary; Subcommittee on Election Law; Subcommittee on Gaming; Subcommittee on Special Issues (EP) (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on Firearms (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on Tort Reform (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: Born October 6th, 1980, in Orland Hills; B.S. in Leadership and Management, Civil Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, M.S., Business Administration, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; former US Army Captain; Bronze Star recipient; former trustee and vice president for High School District 230.

Associated Representatives:
Margo McDermed
Debbie Meyers-Martin