Mental Health Bill Signed In Illinois

Laila Chandler

Illinois passed a law that went into effect on January 1st, 2022. The law was about giving students five “mental/behavioral” health days, without the consultation of a doctor’s note. Students are allowed to make up work that was missed. After a second mental health day is used, however, students are referred to school counselors,  social workers, or any other appropriate staff members. According to the article “New Law Allows Illinois Students To Take 5 Mental Health Days” by Kelly Youngblood, the author states, “‘…as of January 20th, Unit 4 had 107 absences reported as excused mental health days. Unit 4 strongly believes in the importance of wellness in the body and mind. To be considered well we must continuously address the physical and mental wellness of our students and staff. Just as if a person is not well physically, we would expect them to stay home and heal. If a person is not well mentally, we have that same expectation”’ (Youngblood). Within the article, Councilor Molly Thinnes states, “‘The past two years have taken a toll on everyone… Children are still learning how the world works and have to have school continuously stop and start again for the past two years while wearing masks that hinder the ability to accurately read some social cues’” (Youngblood). Thinnes continues by saying, “‘They (students) are trying just like the rest of us, but they don’t get to choose when to take sick days; this is a great step in the school system toward more recognition of the importance of mental health and emotional development in children’”. Many other states have passed laws similar to the one that has been passed in Illinois, and have been proven effective, considering the burden of constantly getting a doctor’s note every time you need to take a personal day. Many mental health advocates are pleased with this law, and so are students and school teachers.