McGuire pushes for stronger mental health safety net for college students

mcguire 040519College students face major changes as they adjust to life away from home, a situation that can cause or greatly exacerbate underlying mental health issues. State Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) is sponsoring legislation to enable the state’s higher education system to help the one in four college students who face mental health difficulties.

House Bill 2152 would require public colleges and universities to form mental health panels to discuss mental health issues, implement programs that provide support to students struggling with mental health issues, and provide student-to-student support networks. They also must form a strategic partnership with local mental health providers, and that the Illinois Board of Higher Education develop a technical assistance center to develop and standardize mental health policies.

Testifying before the committee, University of Illinois Chicago senior Claudia de Bruyn related her experiences with mental health struggles while attending college. After convincing herself to go in to her school’s counseling center, she found she needed to put on a waiting list.

“It was hard to find the courage to go to a clinic and ask for help, but even harder to be added to a wait list that I wasn’t sure when or if I’d get off of. I was discouraged and distressful, and my anxiety and depression only grew worse in the weeks I waited. A large part of this barrier stems from the stigma surrounding mental health.”

The legislation passed the committee unanimously and is scheduled for consideration before the full Senate.

Sen. Pat McGuire


43rd District

Years served:
2012 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Environment and Conservation; Higher Education (Chairperson); Revenue; State Government (Vice-Chairperson); Transportation; Subcommittee on Capital (TR); Subcommittee on Prisons (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: Former teacher, school board member, Will County treasurer and Braidwood City Clerk; attended Joliet Catholic schools from first grade through college; married (Lora) with one daughter (Molly).

Associated Representatives:
John Connor
Lawrence Walsh, Jr.