State Committee holds hearing on youth mental health


Members of the Illinois State Senate Mental and Behavioral Health Committee gathered Thursday morning in Chicago to hear various expert reports on the mental health and wellness challenges facing local youth.

Image from Pixabay Credit: Image from Pixabay

In recent years, schools and mental health clinics have documented how the COVID-19 pandemic, gun violence, widespread use of social media among children, and more have contributed to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation among young people in All country.

The issues have also impacted Evanston’s youth, and administrators at Evanston Township High School have spoken at board meetings in recent months about the need for expanded student support services and the importance of simply talking about mental health on a regular basis.

Thirty-three percent of all ETHS students said that stress had affected their daily lives for at least 11 days in the past month, while 30% said they felt sad or hopeless on most days for at least two weeks, from According to student survey responses in the 2020 -2021 school year.

ETHS also saw a 104% increase in the number of suicide risk assessments from the fall quarter of 2019 to the fall quarter of 2021, according to data presented to the board in March by associate director of student services Taya Kinzie and principal Marcus Campbell.

Based on data collected by the Student Services team, 106 students were hospitalized for psychiatric problems in the 2020-21 year, down from 116 the year before. But 26 students suffered multiple hospitalizations, compared with just 12 who did the year before.

“You can’t have physical health without having mental health, and this is a point we need to take home for everyone,” said State Senator Laura Fine, who represents Evanston and other northern suburbs of Chicago. “It’s okay to talk about your mental health issue, and it shouldn’t be any different than treating a physical health issue.”

In Illinois, there is a shortage of beds in inpatient psychiatric facilities for children, Dr. John Walkup of Lurie Children’s Hospital. Credit: Image from Pixabay

However, in Illinois, one of the most dire problems facing psychiatric care is the lack of beds in inpatient units where children can get the services and support they need, said Dr. John Walkup of Lurie Children’s Hospital at Thursday’s hearing.

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