Return to the Latest

NAMI Chicago And Young Invincibles Applaud Gov. Pritzker’s Call To Fund Campus Mental Health Services; More Funding Is Needed 

February 22, 2024
Contact: Emma Bittner, Young Invincibles
(972) 510-3395 |

Contact: Caroline Brooks, NAMI Chicago

NAMI Chicago And Young Invincibles Applaud Gov. Pritzker’s Call To Fund Campus Mental Health Services; More Funding Is Needed 

 Governor calls for $4 million dollars for campus mental health, while advocates call for full funding to address a dire mental health crisis on college campuses 

(CHICAGO, IL) – Today, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Chicago and Young Invincibles applaud Governor Pritzker’s call for $ 4 million in state funding for the Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act (MHEACA)in his proposed state budget for FY2025. MHEACA passed unanimously in 2019 to help address the rising mental health care needs for Illinois college students. NAMI Chicago and Young Invincibles have been advocating for consistent, full funding as part of a years-long advocacy campaign for campus mental health services, overwhelmingly supported by the state’s public institutions of higher education 

 Although $4 million would be welcomed, the full figure needed to adequately support higher education institutions and students is $22.2 million. With full funding, all public colleges and universities would be able to accomplish the goals of the Act, and more importantly, help students get the mental health care they need. The Act requires all public two- and four-year colleges and universities to support the mental health of students by:  

  • Increasing training and awareness among faculty, staff, and students  
  • Building better mental health screening to identify students in need  
  • Improving capacity to provide mental health treatment and peer support on campus  
  • Creating a statewide Technical Assistance Center to assist in implementation and policy development 

The $22.2 million appropriation was calculated by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COGFA), which surveyed every public college and university in the state to determine how much funding each institution would require to implement the law  

 Alexa James, Chief Executive Officer at NAMI Chicago said:

“Young people are facing mental health challenges at a higher rate than ever before, and it’s incumbent on us to let them know that they are not alone in this fight. The transition to college, along with the everyday stressors of school, work and potentially being away from home, can be very overwhelming. Schools in Illinois must be prepared to support the mental health needs of young people.”   

College students are experiencing all-time high rates of depression, anxiety and suicidality, according to the latest Healthy Minds survey. In the annual survey, which received responses from 96,000 U.S. students across 133 campuses during the 2021–22 academic year, 44 percent reported symptoms of depression, 37 percent said they experienced anxiety, and 15 percent said they have seriously considered suicide—the highest rate in the survey’s 15-year tenure yet only 25 percent of college students receive treatment despite serious implications. Research shows that graduation rates are lower for students with mental health conditions, especially for Black, Latinx, and low income students, and dropout rates are 2.5x higher.    

Jorge Arteaga, Midwest Advocacy Manager for Young Invincibles said:

“This recognition by the Governor would not be possible without the dedicated young adults who shared their experiences and advocated for these resources. We are deeply grateful for State Representative La Shawn K. Ford and State Senator Celina Villanueva’s unwavering commitment to Illinois students. The proposed $4 million is a step in the right direction, yet full funding is essential to provide countless students with access to mental health care. This funding is crucial as Young Invincibles urges more action towards affordable, accessible, and equitable mental health services for young adults. Young Invincibles is incredibly thankful to Governor Pritzker for his continued prioritization of mental health care, and we urge state legislators to fully fund the Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act.”   

The State has previously funded the Act with $9 million in the FY23 supplemental budget and $12.6 million in the FY24 budget. Continued funding would ensure the state can continue the progress it’s already made in meeting the rising demand for campus mental health supports and services.  

Lily Rocha, Associate Vice President of Policy for NAMI Chicago said:

“The funding proposed by Governor Pritzker is a great start, and we urge state legislators to fully fund the Act at $22.2 million. Providing higher education institutions with the appropriate financial resources will ensure that any student struggling with their mental health does not have to suffer in silence. We are thankful to Governor Pritzker calling attention to the need for this investment in Illinois’ young people, and we ask state legislators to fully fund campus mental health services NAMI Chicago will continue to work with legislators and stakeholders to ensure this funding is permanent, sustainable, and sufficient for years to come.”  

State Representative La Shawn Ford has been a vital leader in the call for full funding, with support from State Senator Celina Villanueva. NAMI Chicago and Young Invincibles, as well as the thousands of students benefiting from this investment, graciously thank them for their steadfast commitment to addressing the student mental health crisis here in Illinois.   


About NAMI Chicago   

Since 1979, NAMI Chicago has fought for families and individuals impacted by mental health conditions through promoting community wellness, breaking down barriers to mental health care and providing support and expertise for families, professionals and individuals in Chicago and beyond. Guided by the experiences of those living with mental health conditions and rooted in equity, NAMI Chicago educates to fight stigma and discrimination, fiercely advocates for our community, and shares hope, connection and expertise with people on their mental health journey. To learn more, visit   

  About Young Invincibles  

Young Invincibles (YI) is a national advocacy organization with offices across the country, including California, Colorado, Texas, Illinois, and New York. YI champions young adults ages 18 to 34 by uplifting their voices and advocating in support of policies that advance young people at the state and federal level. YI informs their advocacy work with quantitative research on issues of higher education, health care, economic security, and civic engagement. For more information, please contact Emma Bittner at (972) 510-3395 or