Illinois bill looks to address mental health professional shortage

Bill Looks to Address Mental Health Professional Shortage
Bill Looks to Address Mental Health Professional Shortage(WGEM)
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 3:55 AM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - Officials at Transitions of Western Illinois said the demand for mental health services has grown since the beginning of the pandemic, but there aren’t enough trained or licensed professionals to deal with it.

Senate Bill 3617 seeks to help provide communities with more mental health professionals.

The bill not only would make it easier for out of state professionals to operate in this state, but it provide grants for community organizations to help train people looking to work in the field.

Transitions executive director Mark Schmitz said he’s glad the measure is acknowledging the shortage of mental health professionals. He said Transitions, along with other mental health treatment agencies around the region, are facing hiring shortages.

“Growing the number of professionals available in our communities is gonna be a good thing for organizations like us but ultimately it’s gonna be a good thing for our community, because that’s gonna be more people who have a license in behavioral health area in our community to serve the need that really is out there,” Schmitz said.

Schmitz said staffing issues can be a problem as it’s important that those who reach out for help are able to get it quickly.

“You don’t want to see a situation where because people can’t get kind of usual and customary care, they let their mental health situation become more serious and so they access care at a point of a crisis,” Schmitz said. “So it’s really looking at how can we be as preventative as we can possibly be, making access to mental health services more accessible.”

If you are seeking mental health services, you can call Transitions at 217-223-0413 and they can direct you.

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