For nearly two years, COVID-19 has plagued our world and undoubtedly changed the way we approach nearly every aspect of our daily lives. What started as a contagious flu strain in a faraway land turned into a worldwide shutdown. Remember when some elected officials confidently ensured that this would all be over by Easter 2020? From there, the conflicting stay-at-home orders, the various reopening phases and vaccine rollouts have brought us to the present day, with the threat of the Omicron variant looming.

As a result, mental health and addiction outcomes have been staggering. Grief, isolation and anxiety have triggered new mental health conditions in some or exacerbated existing ones in others. Far too many individuals aren’t getting referred for needed services, nor are they seeking help on their own.

Illinois needs someone who can ensure the smooth and equitable rollout of state mandated mental health and addiction services, along with making certain that our safety-net programs are readily available and easily accessible, even for those hardest to reach.

Last July, I introduced House Bill 4113, pushing legislatively for a dedicated executive within the administration to oversee, coordinate efforts and provide recommendations pertaining to best practices in mental health and addiction services.

In the same way that the governor initially appointed former state Sen. Toi Hutchinson to oversee the state’s adult-use cannabis regulation in 2019, it is appropriate that a similar sort of oversight officer be tapped to do the same for mental health and addiction services.

So, Gov. Pritzker, again, I implore you to move forward with officially appointing a mental health and substance use disorder oversight officer.

State Rep. Deb Conroy

Villa Park

Feeds,Region: DuPage,Local,Region: Suburbs

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December 18, 2021 at 11:45AM