Schlossberg lauds creation of Behavioral Health Council

HARRISBURG, Oct. 10 – State Rep. Mike Schlossberg today praised Gov. Josh Shapiro for signing an executive order to establish a Behavioral Health Council within the Shapiro administration.

"This is a big move for improving mental health care in Pennsylvania. The original Behavioral Health Commission -- which came out of my effort to spend $100 million in federal funds on adult mental health care -- noted numerous deficiencies in the mental health care system in the state. In fact, one of the recommendations of the report was that such a commission continue to operate in order to make further recommendations about ways to improve health care.

“We need to do more to coordinate care, remove bureaucratic disparities, and make sure that all populations in Pennsylvania are being heard. By creating this council, the governor is proving -- yet again -- how serious he is about addressing mental health care in PA,” said Schlossberg, D-Lehigh, who serves as House Majority Caucus Chair.

During the 2022-23 legislative session, Schlossberg was a member of the Behavioral Health Commission on Adult Mental Health, a 24-person group tasked with providing recommendations to the General Assembly on how to appropriate $100 million in one-time federal American Rescue Plan funding to address behavioral health needs in Pennsylvania. The commission, composed of experts in the behavioral health field, advocates and providers, as well as Schlossberg and other legislators, created a set of recommendations.

In June, the state House of Representatives passed legislation (H.B. 849) authored by Schlossberg that took recommendations from the commission to expand the efforts to address the needs of struggling Pennsylvanians by funding various programs. However, the state Senate never took up the bill.

The $100 million in funding eventually made its way into the Fiscal Code bill (H.B. 1300) which passed the House last week and awaits action by the state Senate.

Schlossberg has been a strong advocate for mental health programs and the associated funding since he arrived in Harrisburg in 2013.