State Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, recently introduced legislation to expand mental health screenings for youth.
House Bill 2188 would require medical professionals to discuss the mental health history of the patient’s family during back-to-school physicals so doctors can educate parents whose children may have mental health risk factors.
“Through my discussions with local parents, school advocates, teachers, mental health professionals and members of my Women’s Legislative Advisory Committee, it is clear that more needs to be done, not only to support mental health community wide, but also in educating parents about genetic factors that may potentially affect their child’s mental health,” Manley said in a news release.
Doctors only have to check a box on the school physical form noting that they had a conversation with parents about any mental health issue.
In requiring doctors to inquire about family mental health history and other related factors, this would help educate parents to make them more aware of factors that may be precursors to future mental health issues.
“I’ve heard many parents say, ‘Had I only known’ that certain factors might lead to potential mental health issues for my child, I would have done things differently or taken action sooner,’ ” Manley said in the release. “A simple discussion during the school physical will allow a medical provider to educate parents and answer their questions. It is important that doctors help parents understand any underlying issue that might impact a child’s mental health.”