HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed legislation Wednesday that would allocate $100 million to address Pennsylvania's mental health needs.
“This money has been allocated. The uses have been thoroughly vetted. It’s time to get this money out the door to serve Pennsylvanians," said the bill's author, state Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D-Lehigh).
House Bill 849 now moves to the state Senate for consideration.
Schlossberg’s legislation would take the following recommendations from the commission and expand the efforts to address the needs of struggling Pennsylvanians:
- $34 million to workforce development and retention in behavioral health, including training, paid internships, loan repayment and tuition assistance for aspiring mental health professionals.
- $31.5 million to expand criminal justice and public safety programs and for grants administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
- $18 million for suicide prevention.
- $10 million for behavioral health integration by primary care practitioners and practices.
- $3.5 million for grants to develop peer-led mental health and substance use disorder services.
- $3 million for the state Department of Human Services to make grants for technology and training for behavioral health telehealth providers.
Approximately 1.7 million Pennsylvanians live in a community that does not have enough mental health professionals, according to the House Democratic Communications Office. In the last year, 98,000 kids between the ages of 12 and 17 have been diagnosed with depression, yet 57% of them were unable to receive any care.
Five Pennsylvanians reportedly take their own life every day.
“We know the problems and we have solutions. It is time to get this money into programs that can help people who need it across our commonwealth,” Schlossberg said.