HARRISBURG – As budget talks continue in Harrisburg, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers are hopeful that debate will also involve consideration of House Bill 1690, legislation that would address the shortage of mental health services in underserved areas. The bill would establish and administer a program providing funds for postdoctoral psychology internship placements in federally designated underserved areas — both urban and rural — throughout PA. Bill sponsors, Republican Reps. Rosemary Brown and Jason Ortitay and Democrats Mike Schlossberg and Jeanne McNeill said prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half of Pennsylvanians living with mental illness reported having not received any treatment. The bill not only expands access to mental health services and support to underserved communities, but also provides an opportunity to better train and retain psychologists in PA. The lawmakers said as we look at the impact of factors related to the pandemic, there’s a marked increase in the number of Pennsylvanians facing mental health issues who are unable to access mental health services. The bill is before the House Health Committee.