CHICAGO – The House Mental Health & Addiction Committee will meet jointly with the Senate Behavioral Mental Health Committee to discuss the ongoing issue of the behavioral health workforce shortage across the state. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 25, at 10 a.m. in the Michael A. Bilandic Building in Chicago. As Chairperson of the House Mental Health & Addiction Committee, state Rep. Lindsey LaPointe has led efforts, in collaboration with Sen. Laura Fine, to combat the current behavioral health crisis, including expanding access to mental health resources.
“We are at an inflection point when it comes to accessible and affordable behavioral health support, including the north star that mental health care is healthcare,” said LaPointe. “More than ever, our residents and loved ones across Illinois have high needs and are willing to seek treatment and support. Stigma is shifting downward; and yet we simply do not have enough humans in the jobs to provide the support. Too many of us hear the words ‘waitlist’ or ‘appointment in nine months’ when we reach out for help.”
“The shortage of behavioral and mental health care professionals prevents Illinoisans from accessing the quality healthcare they need,” said Fine. “It is critical that we find a way to reduce barriers to improve this labor shortage and ensure mental health professionals can keep up with the high demand of patients seeking treatment. We must address this issue with urgency in order to provide our communities and our families with the timely, accessible treatment they deserve.”
“This joint committee work is a testament that the State of Illinois is serious about the urgent work to combat the behavioral health workforce shortage. Those who work in behavioral healthcare, especially community-based care, are heroes who deserve long careers in safe and sustainable work environments, instead of low wages and high turnover. Building up the workforce through recruitment, retention and diversity will increase access to quality care,” said LaPointe. “These joint hearings will unpack not only the intensity of the shortage, but also policy and budget solutions, including the work of the new Behavioral Health Workforce Center.
For more information, please contact Info@RepLaPointe.com or 773-647-1174.
Who: IL House, Senate
What: Joint Mental Health & Addiction Committee
When: Thursday, Jan. 25, 10 a.m.
Where: Michael A. Bilandic Building; 160 N LaSalle, Chicago