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SPRINGFIELD – Following Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is optimistic that the state will increase its investment for essential mental health care.

 “In these unprecedented times, many are facing new or worsening mental health concerns,” Senator Fine said. “It is vital that we prioritize making mental health care more accessible and higher quality for those with existing mental health needs in our budget.”

 The governor’s budget proposal includes $70 million in funding of the 9-8-8 mental health hotline. Senator Fine’s initiative created a fund to maintain the hotline in Illinois, which will go live in July. The program is reliant by the state for resources to hire caseworkers, operators, and provide training to ensure the hotline is a high-quality resource, making funding for the program crucial.

 “The 9-8-8 hotline will provide vital support to people in crisis,” Fine said. “I am glad that the governor is prioritizing mental health care accessibility by proposing to fund this life-saving service.”

The proposed budget also invests millions of dollars into the mental health workforce.  In addition, to help increase the number of people in the healthcare workforce, it also waives fees for licensing for hundreds of thousands of providers.

 Senator Fine is looking forward to advocating for mental health care with her colleagues and the governor in budget negotiations.