HARRISBURG − July 27, 2023 – Sen. Maria Collett and State Rep. Mike Schlossberg today joined mental health professionals, advocates and fellow legislators at a Capitol news conference to address restoring the $100 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding for mental health that was left out of this year’s budget.
Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, said the event provided a space to display the importance of mental health resources and funding for people throughout Pennsylvania.
“It’s an unfortunate fact that mental health in general everywhere across this commonwealth remains critically underfunded. Additionally, 1.8 million adult Pennsylvanians struggle with a mental health condition. We can’t expect everyone to be treated properly if we don’t provide the funding necessary to do so,” Schlossberg said. “Restoration of the $100 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding would help significantly in doing this, expanding access of important resources to allow more people to utilize them.
“Finding solutions to mental health conditions is a long-term process that takes a long-term approach. We started this long-term approach last year when we established the Behavioral Health Commission on Adult Mental Health. I, along with Sen. Collett, experts in the behavioral health field, advocates and providers were part of that commission and came up with a set of recommendations of how we could spend the $100 million. It’s time that we disburse the funding so we can help those living with mental health conditions.”
“As a nurse, I know firsthand how gaps in mental health care treatment can harm patients and their families. Despite the desperate need for mental health support in our commonwealth, and despite the thoughtful recommendations from the Behavioral Health Commission, my Republican colleagues in the Senate have refused to call up our legislation to release these vital funds. The lives of our families, our friends and our neighbors throughout Pennsylvania are on the line, and we need to push this funding out to the people who need it,” said Collett, D-Montgomery.
The recommendations that were created by the Behavioral Health Commission on Adult Mental Health were formally adopted into H.B. 849, which passed the House 173-30 in early June. The bill remains in the Senate and was not included in the 2023-24 state budget, but rather the funding was redirected for school mental health, Schlossberg noted.
Collett’s companion bill, S.B. 605, was referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.