County-Based MH Funding Advocacy Letter From the Mental Health Safety Net Coalition
The sustained funding of community-based mental health services, such as community residential programs, family-based support, outpatient care, and crisis intervention, are critical to the wellbeing of our constituents and our communities. Funding levels for county mental health services have direct impacts on whether these important community and family supports will be available. Yet for too many years, state funding for mental health services has lagged far behind its needs. Counties find themselves advocating for the prevention of funds being cut instead of achieving the increases that are needed to catch up from years of underfunding.
This year, RCPA and other system stakeholders once again teamed with the County Commissioner Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) through the Mental Health Safety Net Coalition. The mission and vision of this campaign continues to promote awareness of the critical funding needs of mental health services for vulnerable Pennsylvanians. As RCPA and the Mental Health Safety Net Coalition continue our efforts, we ask our members, stakeholders, and partners to join us in this collaborative effort by engaging with your legislators. “County mental health services provide a critical piece to the public safety net for people in need,” notes Richard S. Edley, PhD, President and CEO of RCPA. “The system sustained cuts over a decade ago with little relief since then. It is time to restore those dollars and further enhance the system. Not only will it provide critical funding for the individuals receiving services, but there are positive benefits — both financially and clinically — to the entire community.”
The Coalition welcomes the many new partners for this 2023–24 initiative, as the time to act is now for engaging with your representative. Local communities and providers have come together to sustain the safety net and serve those who need it most. The reality is that the demand for service far outweighs capacity and rate structures to serve this population.
View our first of many communications that will go out on behalf of the Coalition as an open call to the PA General Assembly and stakeholders. This will provide you with strategic talking points for our outreach. If you have additional questions or would like to join the Mental Health Safety Net Coalition, please contact RCPA Policy Director Jim Sharp.