NAPERVILLE (CBS) — It’s not easy to get a bill moving in Springfield and even harder if you’re a high school student.
But a group of Naperville kids are now the brains behind a bill headed to the governor’s desk. They tell Morning Insider Tim McNicholas the goal is to prevent teen suicides.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Slight Chance Of Storms Overnight; A Quiet Pattern To Come
Katie Dalton, Aparna Ramakrishnan and Anna Schmidt are no lobbyists. They’re three girls who’ve struggled with their mental health and aren’t afraid to talk about it.
“I’ve been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder,” Anna said.
“I think its very important to kind of reduce the stigma on it.” said Katie.
“Suicidal ideation, all those other extreme symptoms that come along when I got into high school,” said Aparna.
The Naperville Central students launched a nonprofit called Beyond Charity.
Their goal is to make it cool to talk mental health, and their presentations have been viewed by kids from Illinois to Kenya.READ MORE: At Least 2 People Killed, 32 Wounded In Gun Violence In Chicago So Far This Weekend
“A lot of people may just not even realize the things that they’re going through, and it’s really important that they realize they are not alone,” Anna said.
But their latest plan is bigger than a presentation. It’s so big, it made it all the way to Springfield.
It all started with their student ID cards.
“When I compared it to my sister’s college ID card, she had every hotline possibly needed for her life on that card.” Aparna said. “Suicide hotlines are so important, and I was like why don’t we add that to our high school cards.”
They envisioned struggling students turning to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline or the Crisis Text Line, with the numbers clearly printed on the backs of their IDs for their convenience.
The girls say they emailed about 100 lawmakers with their idea, and they found one willing to spearhead the bill.
Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg) filed the bill in February and now it’s passed the state legislature.MORE NEWS: 1 Killed, 2 Wounded In West Pullman Shooting
Now their idea is headed to the governor’s desk, and if he approves, to the backs of student IDs. The hotlines would be printed on student IDs between grades 7 and 12 all over Illinois.