State Representative David Allen Welter, R-Morris, has been appointed to serve as a member of the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership (ICMHP), the public/private collaboration of child-serving state agencies, parents, youth, policymakers, providers, and advocates to identify needs and gaps, and recommend innovative solutions to improve children’s mental health in Illinois.
“Illinois has many strides to make in order to meet the mental health needs of children across our state,” Representative Welter said. “I am very passionate about this issue and excited to join the partnership in their mission to ensure that every child has access to the care and support services they deserve.”
ICMHP takes a broad look at children’s mental health by using a public health approach, believing that a comprehensive children’s mental health system must be built on a foundation of quality prevention, promotion, early intervention/identification, and treatment services and support.
ICMHP spearheads a number of projects focused on early childhood, consultation initiatives, parent and caregiver support groups, and much more. The partnership meets quarterly throughout the year with an Advocacy Committee that meets monthly.
Over the past 10 years, ICMHP has made progress in improving children’s mental health through collective efforts such as:
- Raising awareness through the Say It Out Loud Campaign has helped reduce stigma and empower children and families to talk about mental health.
- Numerous publications such as the Juvenile Justice System: A Guide for Families in Illinois, the Residential Treatment Handbook, the Reflective Practice Guide, and Guidelines for School and Community Partnerships, help educate parents and offer recommendations for building and strengthening policies and practices.
- Identification of service descriptors to support the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services’ work to add home and community services to the Medicaid-funded service array.
- Early childhood mental health consultation has increased the capacity of home visiting programs to identify and address mental health concerns.
- Implementation of the Illinois Social and Emotional Standards has improved students’ capacities to manage their emotions and resolve conflicts, resulting in improved academic success.
- Community-based linkage to services for youth discharged from correctional facilities has reduced rates of recidivism.
- Statewide expansion of Screening Assessment and Support Services (SASS) Program has reduced psychiatric hospitalizations for youth in crisis by providing effective and timely linkages with community-based services.
The other legislators serving on the partnership are Representative Will Davis, D-Hazel Crest, Representative Karina Villa, D-West Chicago, Representative Patrick Windhorst, R-Metropolis, Senator Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, and Senator Iris Martinez, D-Chicago.
To learn more about the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership, please visit http://icmhp.org/.