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07/23/2024 05:34 AM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20230&cosponId=38721
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 15, 2022 03:10 PM
From: Representative Jennifer O'Mara
To: All House members
Subject: Legislative Package to Join the National Counseling Compact & Changes to Behavioral Specialists (Former HB 2852)
 
Across the country, we are facing a mental health crisis. In fact, Mental Health America reports that 21% of adults live with a mental health condition and more than 50% of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition in their lifetime. Due to an increased demand for mental health services exacerbated by the pandemic and a shortage of mental health providers, finding treatment without a months’ long waitlist can be nearly impossible. In fact, nearly 60 percent of Pennsylvania’s communities are underserved in terms of available mental health services.  

  

Pennsylvanian’s desperately need greater access to mental health providers, which is why I am introducing legislation which would authorize the Commonwealth to join the National Counseling Compact. This compact is an occupational licensure agreement based on the mutual recognition of both education and practices for counselors across multiple states. The compact works by permitting a practitioner's home state license to be mutually recognized by other compact member states based on a set of criteria laid out within the language of the compact. This model also provides counselors and their patients to have more opportunity as to where and how they provide treatment.   
   
We have seen the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of Pennsylvanians of all ages. By joining the National Counseling Compact, we are widening the spectrum of professional health services in order to support and provide relief in our communities.  

  

I hope you will join me in advocating for increased access to mental health treatment.



Introduced as HB2300