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Mental health law inspired by Bartonville family’s tragedy set to take effect

koehler mntl hlthSPRINGFIELD – Students returning to college in a few weeks will have the authority to empower their university to share mental health information with their parents.

The new law, House Bill 3599, was inspired by the Predmore family of Bartonville, who tragically lost their son Chris to suicide last year. Under previous Illinois law, his college could not talk to his parents about his mental health struggles.

“It is my hope that this new law will help prevent tragedies like this from occurring,” said Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria), who sponsored the legislation in the Illinois Senate. “College is a time when many students show signs of mental illness, and they will now be allowed to choose whether or not possibly crucial mental health information is shared with their parents.”

A number of recent studies indicate that psychological problems are a growing issue on college campuses. For example, a survey found that that 70 percent of college counseling center directors believe that the number of students with severe psychological problems has increased in recent years. Surveys of college students themselves have shown that depression and anxiety have skyrocketed over the past several decades – perhaps as many as a quarter or a third of students meet criteria for anxiety or depression during college.

The new law not only gives newly-enrolled college students the opportunity to authorize the university to share mental health records with their parents, but other trusted adults as well. Universities will only share information when students are found to be a danger to themselves or others.

House Bill 3599 is effective Jan. 1, 2016.

Sen. David Koehler


Assistant Majority Leader
46th District

Years served:
Appointed December 2006; Elected 2008 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Education; Environment and Conservation (Vice-Chairperson); Labor; Local Government; Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital (TR); Oversight Medicaid Mang. Care, Spec; Supplier Diversity, Special Com. On; Sub. on Interscholastic Athletics (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: Born and raised in South Dakota, moved to Peoria in 1978; B.A., Yankton College, 1971; M.A. in divinity, United Theological Seminary, 1974; staff member, National Farm Worker Ministry; community organizer and program manager, Peoria Friendship House; executive director, Peoria Area Labor Management Council; president, Labor Management Cooperative Health Programs Inc.; Peoria County Board member, 1982-88; Peoria City Council member, 1989-97 (mayor pro tem, 1993-94); first elected to Senate in 2006; married with three daughters, a son-in-law and two granddaughters.

Associated Representatives:
Jehan Gordon-Booth
Michael D. Unes