HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM)– Some Pennsylvanians don’t have access to mental health services, but a new bill is looking to change that by allocating $100 million in federal funding to expand services.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed Rep. Mike Schlossberg (D-Leigh)’s House Bill 849 on Wednesday which would allocate the funding to address mental health needs in the commonwealth. About 1.7 Pennsylvanians do not have access to mental health professionals.
“This money has been allocated,” Schlossberg said. “The uses have been thoroughly vetted. It’s time to get this money out the door to serve Pennsylvanians. I am grateful for the bipartisan support this legislation received and look forward to working with the Senate and Governor Josh Shapiro to get this done so we can get people the help they need.”
The Behavioral Health Commission on Adult Mental Health was established by the General Assembly as part of the 2022-23 state budget, and the group was tasked with allocating federal funding to address behavioral health needs.
The group and Schlossberg made recommendations for allocating the $100 million in funding:
- $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.
After being passed by the state House of Representatives, the bill now heads to the state Senate for consideration.