First Focus on Children sent the following letter to Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Bill Cassidy, chair and ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee to share insights on the health care workforce as it impacts children, youth, and young adults.

Excerpt from the Comment:

In light of the national mental health crisis for children, teens, and young adults, First Focus on Children is concerned that Congress has not adequately assessed how our country currently allocates health care workforce development dollars for behavioral health in general, but particularly for pediatric behavioral health. Dr. Mitch Prinstein, the Chief Science Officer from the American Psychological Association was a witness during the Senate HELP Committee’s February 1, 2022 hearing titled “Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: Responding to the Growing Crisis.” During the hearing, he was asked the question “How much does the U.S. spend on the mental health workforce?” He responded that the government spends $15 billion annually in federal funding for the health care workforce but only 1% on mental health workforce development. And of that 1%, only a fraction of that amount is for pediatric behavioral health workforce development.

Read the full letter.