Announcing the Release of the new Illinois Children’s Mental Health Plan!
Friday, May 6, 2022
Rounding out Children’s Mental Health Week, we are thrilled to announce the release of a new statewide Children’s Mental Health Plan to address the needs of all children and families across the state. Using a public health approach, the Plan provides recommendations and action steps to improve mental health and wellness across a full spectrum of needs, including social and structural determinants of health, prevention, early identification, and treatment.
“I want to recognize the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership on their leadership in creating a comprehensive and systematic plan to address the needs of all youth and their families in Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This plan serves as an excellent roadmap for the Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative, which I launched so Illinois families will be better able to access holistic, wraparound support for children in need. This is a critical moment for children’s health, and together, we’re moving toward an Illinois where all young people can access the help they need.”
|The 2022 Illinois Children’s Mental Health Plan asks the State of Illinois to concentrate on five important goals:|
|1. Increase public awareness on all issues connected to child mental health and wellness to decrease stigma and promote acceptance |
2. Improve state coordination to better assess needs, ensure effective spending, and foster innovation
3. Create a centralized, public-facing hub to streamline system navigation, resources, and funding for families
4. Invest in the full child-serving workforce, including mental health providers, educators, pediatricians, hospitals, and others who work with and support our children and families
5. Fund the design, implementation, and evaluation of integrated and responsive system of care strategies
|Over the past 17 months, ICMHP has focused our efforts on assessing the current state of mental health in Illinois and finding a a path to build brighter futures for all its children, families, and communities. The State of Illinois has been without a comprehensive children’s mental health plan since the Partnership’s founding legislation, a nearly 17-year period filled with rapid changes in the understanding of brain development, systemic racism, social and emotional learning, and the effect of adverse childhood experiences and the best practices necessary to build childhood and family safety, security, and prosperity. |
“The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted all our lives with youth being particularly impacted resulting in increased social isolation, anxiety, and learning loss,” said Sameer Vohra, MD, JD, MA, FAAP, Chair, Department of Population Science and Policy at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and Interim Chair, ICMHP. “The Partnership understood that our children and families were facing a critical moment, and the State needed to begin a systematic, comprehensive, interdisciplinary process to generate new recommendations, goals, and strategies.
Understanding the plan needed diverse and inclusive voices, appropriate evidence, and well-reasoned frameworks, the Plan prioritized the values of equity, diversity, inclusion, a wellness-centered approach, and a belief that health is affected by all policies. The Plan engaged more than 800 participants including 100 youth with a special emphasis to work with individuals across diverse sectors including community mental health, early childhood, education, health, substance use, violence prevention, juvenile justice, and more.
“The most important part of the plan development and its next steps has been to ensure the inclusion of youth and families with lived experience,” said Amanda M. Walsh, JD, LLM, MSW, Director of ICMHP. “It is through lived experience that we know addressing children’s mental health requires a holistic approach to the needs within each community.”
Colleen Cicchetti, PhD, Executive Director of the Center for Childhood Resilience at Anne & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, which serves as the fiscal sponsor of the ICMHP, said “I commend the efforts of the ICMHP team as well as the dedicated community members, young people, advocates and diverse professionals who contributed to the development of this revised plan. This Plan represents an opportunity to build momentum for a public/private collaborative approach to build innovative and sustainable solutions to ensure equitable access to appropriate mental health supports to help children, families and communities thrive.”
The Plan’s release concludes a series of events sponsored by ICMHP for Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week that featured a release webinar and a series of newsletters highlighting stories and videos from children’s mental health innovators and leaders across Illinois.
All week ICMHP shared our milestones to our comprehensive Illinois Children’s Mental Health Plan, we hope you continue on the journey ahead with us in the Implementation phase
The Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership