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NAMI Chicago, Young Invincibles Commend Continued Funding For Campus Mental Health Services 

June 03, 2024
Contact: Emma Bittner
(972) 510-3395 |

NAMI Chicago, Young Invincibles Commend Continued Funding For Campus Mental Health Services 

Advocates praise lawmakers for investment in mental health care for college students

(Chicago, IL) – Today, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Chicago and Young Invincibles applaud the Illinois General Assembly for including $13 million in the FY2025 state budget for the Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act (MHEACA), consistent with last year’s appropriation. The legislation, which passed in 2019, helps to address the rising mental health care needs of Illinois college students. 

 The $13 million would help fund the implementation of MHEACA, which 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 quality assurance

In response, Lily Rocha, Associate Vice President of Policy at NAMI Chicago said:

“Young people are experiencing mental health challenges at alarming rates, and it’s our responsibility to take action and break down barriers to care. The college experience looks different for everyone, but can oftentimes be stressful and isolating . We are grateful to our legislative champions State Reps. La Shawn Ford and Lindsey LaPointe, as well as the Illinois General Assembly, for  continuing this crucial investment, and we remain committed to advocating for the comprehensive funding necessary to ensure all students have access to the care they deserve.” 

Increased mental health support for college students comes at a critical time. In a study from the 2022-2023 school year, researchers from the Healthy Minds Network found that depression is especially prevalent among students:

  • 41% of college students reported that they experienced depression
  • 36% suffered from an anxiety disorder
  • 29% of college students self-injured in the past year
  • 14% of college students had thoughts of suicide 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nearly half (45%) of LGBTQ+ students in 2021 seriously considered attempting suicide—far more than heterosexual students, and Black students are at higher risk of attempting suicide than students of other races and ethnicities. Researchers also found that students with mental health concerns are twice as likely to drop out of school, which impacts not only the student, but also institutions and local economies. 

In response, Jorge Arteaga, Midwest Policy Manager at Young Invincibles said:

“Access to mental health care on campus is non-negotiable. Young Invincibles is thrilled to see the Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act (MHEACA) receive $13 million in funding. This achievement would not have been possible without the dedicated work of young adults who shared their experiences and State Reps. La Shawn Ford and Lindsey LaPointe who tirelessly advocated for these resources. While we are deeply grateful for this significant funding, we must recognize that without full funding we cannot and will not fix the broken system. It is imperative that we continue to prioritize mental health care and ensure students have the necessary resources. Fully funding the Mental Health Early Action on Campus Act is essential to creating lasting change.”

The State previously funded MHEACA with $9 million in the FY23 supplemental budget and $12.6 million in the FY24 budget. Despite a tight fiscal year, state legislators opted to continue the progress the state has made in addressing the student mental health crisis. With previous funding, public colleges and universities have been able to hire peer support leaders, institute new trainings, implement mental health screening tools, and more. Potential cuts in funding could have derailed this work. 

State Representative La Shawn K. Ford said:

“This funding sends a message to any student struggling with their mental health that they do not have to suffer in silence. I am proud to play a role in helping Illinois become an even more supportive, inclusive place for all students.” 

State Representative Lindsey LaPointe said:

“Securing this much-needed funding would not be possible without the young adults who bravely shared their experiences and advocated for themselves and their fellow students. It’s up to us to keep pushing our fellow legislators to fund this act consistently and provide accessible mental health care for our young people.”

House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, House Higher Education Chair Katie Stuart, and Assistant Majority Leader Camille Lilly, have also been vital leaders in the fight for campus mental health funding.


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

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