Jesiel Appointed to Council to Improve Detection of Mental Health Conditions

State Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor) is one of four Illinois lawmakers appointed to serve on the Advisory Council on Early Identification and Treatment of Mental Health Conditions. The advisory council will look at how Illinois can increase early detection of mental health and substance abuse conditions and improve access to treatment in Illinois.

“It normally takes around ten years to properly diagnose and treat a mental health condition, particularly in children and young adults,” said Jesiel. “When you factor in how substance abuse can exacerbate a mental health condition like depression, it makes it that much more pressing to improve our ability to more quickly identify when someone needs assistance and ensure they have access to effective treatment.”

Jesiel said she hopes the advisory council will lead to the enactment of legislation or new protocols to saves lives, such as the 2015 law she supported to provide life-saving naloxone for heroin overdoses. Jesiel noted that suicide is the second leading cause of death in Illinois for those 10 to 34 years of age, often a result of untreated depression frequently caused by substance abuse. In addition, since so many recent incidents of violence have been found to have been the result of a mental health and/or substance abuse condition, addressing both conditions in tandem is critical.

The members of the advisory council will serve on a volunteer basis and receive no compensation. After identifying several factors (some key factors listed below), the advisory council will deliver recommendations and an action plan to the Governor and General Assembly for implementation.

Key factors to identify include:
  • Identify evidence-base best practice models and promising practices supported by peer-reviewed literature leading to early treatment;
  • Identify strategies to enable additional medical providers and community-based providers to implement early identification and treatment; and
  • Identify barriers to the success of early screening.
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