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 to prevent funds from being cut instead of achieving the increases that are needed to catch up from years of underfunding.
This year, RCPA and other system stakeholders have teamed with the County Commissioner Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) through the Mental Health Safety Net Coalition. We join this campaign to bring awareness of the critical funding needs of mental health services for vulnerable Pennsylvanians. 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 time to act is now for engaging with your representative, as 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. CCAP has created the following materials to assist in providing strategic talking points for our outreach:
- Appropriate Funding to Support the Crumbling Mental Health System – FAQ
- Mental Health Community Base Investment: Key Talking Points for Community Coalition
If you have further thoughts or questions, please contact your RCPA Policy Director.