HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Dauphin County Commissioners are pushing to get more funding for mental health services. Health experts say the pandemic has had a big impact on the mental health and well-being of people, and county leaders are seeing that, too.
“There’s not a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t receive multiple calls from families with individuals who are struggling with these issues that need help, they need access to care,” Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick said.
Commissioner Hartwick says in-patient capacity in hospitals and the staffing crisis has been a challenge but another big issue is the lack of funding. County commissioners passed a resolution for more money and want to create a crisis stabilization center.
“The ability for us to deal with folks who are in crisis and figure out a way to triage them instead of just the hospital room or crisis intervention,” Hartwick said. “Someone shouldn’t be in crisis to access help, ultimately, that should be the last phase of someone going out to seek help.”
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The need for more funding isn’t just in Dauphin County.
“This is happening in every corner of our state,” Lisa Schaefer, executive director of the County Commissioners of Association of Pennsylvania said.
The County Commissioners Association of named mental health funding its top priority for this year.
‘We’ve seen stagnant funding for the better part of the decade for community programs we provide to support mental health, but really, the crisis that we’ve seen in covid has just exacerbated that,” Schaefer said.
In his final budget, Governor Wolf proposed a $36.6 million dollar increase in county mental health funding. Schaefer says that would be a big step in the right direction.
“It’s time that we start to as a state, as local communities, and a nation, begin to be able to address these issues of mental illness,” Hartwick said. “Stop putting them in the shadows and understand that we need to make an investment in order to provide access to care.”