IL Sen. Peters pushes for mental health crises to be treated by mental health professionals
The below press release was released by Illinois State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) and provides an update on HB2784, an Access Living initiative supported by the NASW-Illinois Chapter which was mentioned in our recent Spring 2021 NASW-IL Advocacy Update.
SPRINGFIELD—An effort to improve mental health emergency responses by diverting emergency calls for mental health crises to mental health professionals was approved by a Senate committee Tuesday.
“Mental health crises should be treated by mental health professionals,” said State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago), the legislation’s sponsor. “Receiving treatment from someone who is a trained professional in mental health support is the best and safest way to address a mental health crisis. When police or firefighters show up, it sometimes creates a more dangerous situation for everyone.”
In July of 2020, the federal government laid the groundworks for 9-8-8 to become the new easy-to-remember number to call in the event of a mental health emergency, working similar to 9-1-1. House Bill 2784 would require local governments to coordinate 9-1-1 and 9-8-8 services, with the goal of diverting people with mental or behavioral health needs toward community care and away from incarceration or improper hospitalization.
“When you call 9-1-1 for a medical emergency, you get a medical response, but when you call for mental health emergency, you do not get a mental health response,” Peters said. “An improper response to a mental health crisis can make the situation worse, and this is not acceptable. Our job is to provide treatment, not trauma.”
The measure passed the Senate Behavioral & Mental Health committee with bipartisan support and will now be sent to the full Senate for further consideration.
NASW-Illinois Chapter membership helps us to push for legislation that benefit Illinois social workers. As the largest membership association in Illinois advocating on behalf of social workers, consider adding your voice to our efforts and join/renew your NASW membership today.