SPRINGFIELD – State Senators Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) and Laura Fine (D-Glenview) led a hearing of the Senate Behavioral and Mental Health Committee on Friday to listen to testimony regarding mental and behavioral health workforce shortages.
“It’s critical that we find a way to ensure the number of mental health professionals can keep up with the ever increasing demand of people seeking treatment,” Senator Villa said. “We must address this issue before it drastically affects our neighbors, friends, family or even ourselves.”
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to present challenges, resulting in labor shortages that are affecting the mental and behavioral health workforce. These shortages could significantly impact both patients and providers as demand for mental health services continues to grow.
Advocates from the Illinois Department of Human Services, the Illinois Association of Behavioral Health, the Community Behavioral Healthcare Association of Illinois, Illinois Partners for Human Services, the Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities and Thresholds testified at the hearing.
“Finding a solution to labor shortages in the mental and behavioral health community is imperative to protecting people who rely on their services,” Senator Fine said. “Mental health care is health care, and it’s important that we find a way for patients across Illinois to receive the timely, accessible treatment they deserve.”
Community members and professionals on Villa’s Mental Health Advisory Committee have also been working to solve the ongoing behavioral and mental health workforce shortages at their monthly meetings. Interested individuals can sign up to join the meetings, which are held from 6-7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of every month, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Committee proceedings are streamed live and can be viewed at ILGA.gov.