Adams County Commissioners are calling for increased state funding to support essential community mental health services.
The three commissioners passed a resolution at their Thursday meeting calling for appropriate funding in the next state budget for fiscal year 2022-23 “to support the crumbling mental health system.”
Commissioners are calling for increased state funding to invest in essential community mental health services, such as crisis intervention, community residential programs, family support and outpatient care.
In 2012, the state cut $84 million “that counties used to fund programs for people with developmental disabilities, mental health issues and other needs, forcing the programs to close and put the system on hold.” social services in a vulnerable state,” according to the resolution.
Commissioner Marty Qually said there had been a mental health crisis over the past decade.
“It kind of got swept under the rug for 10 years,” Qually said. “Every county faces problems.”
Mental health has become a top priority for the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP), a membership organization that represents each of Pennsylvania County’s 67 elected officials, said Commission Chairman Randy Phiel, who sits on the board of directors. administration of the CCAP.
“The Commonwealth must work effectively with its county partners to fully meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens who are impacted by mental health issues, particularly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Counties provide essential mental health services on behalf of the state, which must be properly funded to ensure residents can access the care they need,” according to the CCSI website.
Copies of the resolution, No. 7 of 2022, and a covering letter will be sent to local and state officials, the Pennsylvania Department of Social Services and the Pennsylvania Governor’s office requesting the additional funding, officials said.
Sharon Harlacher, Administrator of York County/Adams Mental Health–Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (MH-IDD) Program, and Tony Schweitzer, Executive Director of Bell Socialization Services, spoke at the Commissioners’ Meeting about the impacts of mental health d ‘after what they see in their respective roles.
“On behalf of county-funded mental health providers in York and Adams counties, I applaud and thank you for taking this step to bring attention to a chronic condition affecting Pennsylvanians across the country. Commonwealth,” Schweitzer said. “People with serious mental illness who rely on the government-funded safety net have found it to have many holes and tears. This problem is not new. »
Schweitzer, who has spent 30 years in the human services field, said he has never regretted a single day of his career but is worried about the future of the field, the good people competent who do not have the means to work in the field.
“After a 10% statewide cut and a decade of flat funding that ignored the reality of the rising cost of living, our system is terribly damaged. We need to change the trajectory of our system which relies on competent and compassionate people, properly trained, directed and paid to fix these holes and tears,” Schweitzer said.
Deputy Commissioner Commissioner Jim Martin stressed the critical need to help people and noted that those in prison also need mental health support.
A report on suicide trends and prevention in rural Pennsylvania counties and schools by the Center for Rural Progress showed a sharp increase in suicides in the state over the past 20 years and the increase was highest in rural areas, according to the resolution.
Governor Tom Wolf’s initial budget proposal shows a $36.6 million increase in base county mental health funding to address behavioral health needs in the state “in addition to $75 million in funding federal funding for recruitment and retention payments to eligible home and community service providers, as well as $18.8 million to provide services to people with developmental disabilities and/or autism currently on a waiting list for emergency,” according to the resolution.
County officials plan to collaborate with the General Assembly and administration to work on “a targeted and strategic investment of dollars in community mental health services at the county level to maintain the existing safety net and strengthen the availability of mental health services for those who need them as vital steps in the right direction,” according to the resolution.