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 week’s letter of advocacy, sent on behalf of the Coalition, stands as an open call to the PA General Assembly and stakeholders. As we await Governor Shapiro’s budget address, the “Time is Now” for action to sustain the funding of community-based mental health services and to create the legislation to move on the allocation of the $100 million dollars in funding as outlined by the Pennsylvania Behavioral Health Commission.
The Coalition is open to all new partners to join our mission of advocacy for this 2023–24 initiative, as the time to act is now for engaging with your representative. The Coalition will also be developing an advocacy toolkit for members to 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.
If you have additional questions or would like to join the Mental Health Safety Net Coalition, please contact RCPA Policy Director Jim Sharp.