Bill Would Provide Student Loan Forgiveness To Mental Health Professionals Who Choose To Practice In Underserved Areas;
55 Out Of New York’s 62 Counties, Including Most of Upstate NY, Don’t Have Enough Psychiatrists, Psychologists, or Social Workers
Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand held a video press conference to announce her support for bipartisan legislation to help expand the mental health workforce in underserved communities. The Mental Health Professionals Workforce Shortage Loan Repayment Act would incentivize mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, social workers, clinical and school psychologists, and school counselors, to practice in underserved areas by offering them student loan forgiveness in return.
“Too many New Yorkers struggling with their mental health can’t get a timely appointment with a psychiatrist or a psychologist,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This legislation will help draw these professionals to our communities, develop a thriving mental health workforce across Upstate New York, and ensure that all New Yorkers in need of care can get it close to home.”
The Mental Health Professionals Workforce Shortage Loan Repayment Act would repay up to $250,000 in eligible student loans for mental health professionals who agree to work in designated professional shortage areas. Loans taken out for education in mental health or a related field leading to masters or doctoral degrees or post-doctoral study would be eligible for repayment. The legislation would repay one-sixth of the individual’s eligible loans for each year of service.
New York counties that the Health Resources and Services Administration designates as being or containing Health Professional Shortage Areas for mental health professionals are listed here.