By Bob Katzen
The Senate 37-0, approved an amendment to a section of the bill that creates a pilot program administered by the Departments of Higher Education and Mental Health, to encourage a culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse behavioral health workforce. Participants would attend graduate-level classes to receive academic credits toward a master’s degree in the field of behavioral health. The graduates would be placed in jobs with community providers serving high-need populations, including children, veterans, school-aged youth and individuals with a comorbidity — one or more diseases or conditions that occur along with another condition in the same person at the same time. The amendment adds individuals with PTSD and aging adults to the definition of high-need populations.
“There are a great number of people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder,” said the amendment’s sponsor Sen. Walter Timilty (D-Milton) who serves as chair of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. “Many of these men and women are veterans. Additionally, aging adults face their own unique mental health challenges. Moreover, difficult situations exist in families which can result in trauma and PTSD. Because of these reasons, and many more, it was essential that this amendment address and ensure that those suffering with PTSD are not lost. It is crucial that mental healthcare professionals have the proper skill set to deal with the unique circumstances and symptoms experienced by those who suffer from PTSD.”