Kosierowski, HDPC look at mental health professionals in schools
DICKSON CITY, Feb. 19 – State Rep. Bridget M. Kosierowski, D-Lackawanna, today hosted a House Democratic Policy Committee hearing at Dickson City Borough on the shortage of mental health professionals in schools.
Kosierowski was joined by fellow state legislators, including HDPC Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, to discuss the importance of schools having mental health professionals available. She is working on legislation that would establish a loan forgiveness program for individuals seeking to serve as school counselors, psychologists, or social workers.
“The mental health crisis does not only impact adults, it affects many of our young students as well,” Kosierowski said. “The safety and well-being of children is one of my core issues as a lawmaker, and I want to make sure our schools have the staff and resources they need to help students address mental issues like depression and anxiety.”
Sturla added, “It is critical that schools have mental health professionals that can readily help students who are overcoming adverse childhood experiences. I commend Representative Kosierowski for spotlighting this issue, so we can provide better support to schools and to those Pennsylvanians pursuing a career in this mental health field.
The panelists included: Meghna Patel, deputy secretary for health innovation, Pennsylvania Department of Health; Sister Gail Cabral, professor of psychology, Marywood University; Lea Dougherty, MSW program director, Marywood University; Sandie Lamanna, psychologist in private practice; and Jenna Kelly, psychologist in private practice.
The hearing is part of a series being held across the state on House Democrats’ Plan4PA, a policy agenda focused on putting people first by growing good jobs, providing healthcare access, creating quality schools and providing training for jobs in a fair economy. More information about the plan is available at www.plan4pa.com and from the HDPC at www.pahouse.com/policycommittee.