SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to prioritize mental health within higher education institutions in Illinois, State Senator Dave Koehler is leading an initiative to require wellness days for college students.

“A student’s mental well-being is fundamental to their overall success,” said Koehler (D-Peoria). “This legislation tells our students that we are taking mental health seriously and that their well-being is a central component of their educational journey.”

Senate Bill 2606 would require public colleges in Illinois to adopt a student wellness policy for students enrolled in at least one course that lasts nine weeks or longer. This policy would ensure students have at least two wellness days per academic term, beginning with the 2026-2027 academic year. Koehler’s measure would also require public colleges and universities to determine student wellness day policies for students enrolled in courses lasting eight weeks or fewer, or non-credited, flexible term and online courses.

According to the Association of American Universities, in 2017 one in four students reported being diagnosed with or treated for a mental health disorder, and a fifth of all students surveyed had thoughts about suicide. By providing wellness days, students will have a much-needed opportunity to combat stress and focus on their well-being.

“This is our continued commitment to Illinois’ academic environment,” said Koehler. “Initiatives like these are a significant step toward preparing our students not just academically, but for life beyond the classroom as well.”

Senate Bill 2606 passed the Senate Higher Education Committee on Tuesday and now heads to the full Senate for further consideration.