News Date: Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Counties cannot properly address a variety of mental health crises without substantial support from this Commission and the General Assembly.
Amidst the further crumbling of the state’s mental health system, the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is expressing its support for the recommendations of the Behavioral Health Commission for Mental Health.

Representing all 67 counties in the Commonwealth, CCAP is urging the General Assembly to act swiftly in the remaining days left in this legislative session to allocate the one-time, $100 million in federal funds so it can quickly begin making a difference in the lives of our residents.

“There is so much at stake and action must be taken now,” said CCAP President and Bradford County Commissioner Daryl Miller. “Though this may only act as a temporary fix, this funding can have a major impact in the absence of increased General Fund support. However, it is just as important that the General Assembly and administration work with us to offer counties the flexibility to use that funding effectively to meet the unique challenges in our communities.”

The most recent state budget flat-funded county mental health base funds for the twelfth straight year, meaning there was zero increase to the annual funding that provides long-term, sustainable funding for mental health services.

The commission has recommended the following one-time allocations:
  • $37 million in workforce development
  • $23.5 million in criminal justice programs
  • $39 million in expansion of existing programs
“When we ask counties how they would use an increase in funding for mental health, they don’t just give us one answer, or even just two,” said CCAP Executive Director Lisa Schaefer. “Our counties know exactly where the needs are in their communities. Unfortunately, they’ve been seeing it for a very long time, but they can’t and were never supposed to do this alone – they need the strong support of the state to improve their communities and the lives of their constituents.”

Counties cannot properly address depression, anxiety, autism, substance abuse, suicide prevention and a variety of other crises without substantial support from this Commission and the General Assembly, the Governor and the administration going forward.