HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro has signed an executive order to form a new Behavioral Health Council to collaborate, streamline, and improve mental health and substance use disorder services.

The council is designed to “provide recommendations and guidance on how to positively impact the lives of Pennsylvanians with mental health or substance use disorder needs,” as well as identify investments and policy initiatives.

Responsibilities include developing a statewide plan to address access, affordability, and delivery of services.

The 33-member council will consist of members of Governor Shapiro’s cabinet, local officials, medical professionals, and individuals with lived experiences.

This Behavioral Health Council will be led by Dr. Christina Finello, a clinical psychologist from Bucks County. Governor Shapiro says Dr. Finello’s “full-time job is to focus on this specific work and reach across all levels of government to improve our mental health and recovery services.” 

“Across Pennsylvania, I’ve heard from students, parents, providers, and so many others who have told me about the growing challenges of dealing with mental health challenges and substance use disorder, which are so often intertwined,” said Governor Josh Shapiro. “It’s time we deliver the help so many Pennsylvanians are asking for.”