Pritzker signs bill to expand mental health workforce

Capitol Information Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – Governor JB Pritzker signed a invoice Friday that goals to increase the state’s psychological well being workforce and enhance entry to psychological and behavioral well being providers throughout the state

Senate Invoice 3617, a complete psychological well being invoice, handed unanimously by each homes this spring. Amongst different issues, it makes it simpler for out-of-state suppliers to turn into licensed in Illinois and allows folks whose licenses have expired prior to now 5 years to return.

“As a governor, as a guardian and as somebody who grew up in a house affected by dependancy, psychological well being care has been an essential difficulty to me,” Pritzker mentioned on the regulation signing ceremony in Chicago. “Personally, I’ve all the time mentioned that we have to take psychological well being out of the shadows of stigma in an effort to actually advance common well being care. It did not take a pandemic to indicate us the extent of our psychological well being disaster. Nevertheless it’s clearer than ever.”

The brand new regulation additionally supplies for a tax credit score program for employers who make use of people who voluntarily declare that they’re in a psychological sickness or dependancy restoration program.


It additionally authorizes the Division of Human Providers to award grants or contracts to group clinics for coaching packages for these searching for licenses as scientific social employees, scientific skilled counselors, and marriage and household therapists.

“We’d like a psychological well being workforce that’s sturdy sufficient to assist folks once they want it, not after months on a ready checklist,” Pritzker mentioned. “By investing in behavioral well being employees in coaching, we’re guaranteeing that Illinois residents obtain the excellent, high-quality psychological well being care they deserve, whereas diversifying our area of practitioners to be extra consultant of the communities they serve.”

David Jones, the state’s behavioral well being officer with the Division of Human Providers, famous that in 2019, a state activity pressure estimated that by 2030 Illinois would have a scarcity of greater than 3,300 behavioral well being remedy suppliers.

“When there should not sufficient employees current to serve folks in behavioral well being crises, ache and trauma persist and fewer restoration and restoration happen,” he mentioned. “As we speak, we’re seeing motion to ease the psychological well being and substance use issues ache so many face.”

There are solely 14 behavioral well being care suppliers for each 10,000 Illinois residents, mentioned Senator Laura Effective, a Glenview Democrat who chairs the Senate Committee on Behavioral and Psychological Well being and was the invoice’s lead sponsor.

“It is extremely disappointing to listen to that sufferers who search inpatient remedy are being denied care regardless of having empty beds, if solely as a result of there are merely not sufficient suppliers out there to offer the standard care and expertise they deserve,” she mentioned. “This regulation is working to alter that.”

Pritzker acknowledged that SB 3617 alone will not resolve Illinois’ well being care workforce shortages, however he famous different steps the administration has taken in recent times to mitigate the scarcity, together with increasing scholarship alternatives for nursing college students.

“We’re serving to colleges that graduate nurses do it quicker, ensuring they’re all certified to do it, however ensuring they will get by way of the licensing course of quicker as they graduate,” he mentioned. “These are examples. There’s a lot to do. I do not need to recommend that that is the one factor that has been carried out or that we’re going to do.”