How we can solve PA’s behavioral health care crisis

Pennsylvania has a behavioral health crisis.

One in five adults experience mental illness, yet fewer than half of those with a mental health condition receive treatment, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Another one in six children annually experience a mental health disorder, a 2019 study published in JAMA Pediatrics found. Simply put, there is more need for behavioral health care than there are services available.

Phil Hess

This results in backlogs and bottlenecks that strain our entire health care system. Worse, it means that many Pennsylvanians must wait to access the care they need to live healthy and happy lives.

These challenges are not new. But the COVID-19 pandemic — which increased mental health challenges and worsened a shortage of all health care professionals — made the crisis much worse.