Panel to study mental health care shortage in Pa.

Pennsylvania lawmakers unanimously adopted a resolution directing a state panel to study the shortage of mental health care providers in the state, according to a press release from the resolution’s author, state Rep. Jeanne McNeill (D-Lehigh).

The resolution, introduced on April 5 and approved June 4 by the state House, notes Pennsylvania has an average of 179 mental health care providers per 100,000 people, which is below the national average of 214 providers per 100,000 people.

The study will be undertaken by the Joint State Government Commission, the bipartisan research agency of the General Assembly. The commission’s study will work to identify factors behind the shortage, estimate future numbers of mental health care providers and make recommendations on how to solve the disparity in the number of mental health care providers in rural counties compared to urban and suburban counties.

“By understanding how we can improve the ways in which we support those working in mental health care, we have the power to change people’s lives,” McNeill said in a statement. “It is imperative we focus attention and resources to find meaningful solutions. I look forward to working with my colleagues and medical professionals to learn how Pennsylvania can find a remedy to this issue.”

Findings and recommendations from the study will be reported to the House no later than one year after the adoption of the resolution.

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