AB 462 – Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo’s Bill to Expand the Pipeline of Mental Health Professionals – Reaches Governor Newsom’s Desk

For immediate release:

AB 462 provides greater access to mental health care by eliminating unnecessary requirements imposed on Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors and Associate Professional Clinical Counselors that exist only in California and impede the pipeline of our mental health workforce

(Sacramento, CA) – Both the Senate and Assembly have voted to send Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo’s (AD-51, Los Angeles) AB 462 to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk. AB 462 removes the unnecessary requirement that California’s Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCCs) complete additional coursework and training hours to work with couples and families – work that they are already well prepared for after completing all of the requirements for licensure. The bill also clears barriers in the workforce pipeline by removing the requirement that Associate Professional Clinical Counselors (APCCs) complete 150 of their 3,000 training hours in a Hospital or Community Mental Health Clinic setting as part of their training to become an LPCC.

“There are a number of education and training requirements placed on clinical counselors in California that are not imposed on these professionals in any other state,” said Assemblywoman Carrillo. “While COVID-19 exacerbated the already dire need for mental health services, the pandemic further limited the ability of LPCCs to complete the additional supervised training and continuing education hours required to treat couples and families, and made it more difficult for APCCs to find placements to complete the 150 hour requirement, as required by law. Because of these barriers, there are now fewer Clinical Counselors available to Californians than residents of other states,” she added.

California’s Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors already receive education and training that is inclusive of working with couples and families, and with an eye to bringing a multicultural lens to the profession, preparing them to serve Californians from all walks of life. California has unique workforce barriers, and the federal Bureau of Labor and Statistics found that California has the second lowest employment level of mental health counselors per thousand jobs in the country. AB 462 expands the pipeline of mental health professionals, making it easier for Californians to access mental health care, regardless of age or background.

This is critical for all Californians, including our youth: The most recent California Healthy Kids Survey conducted by the California Department of Education and the California Department of Health Care Services reported that feelings of incapacitating, chronic sadness or hopelessness are at the highest levels reported this decade, across all grade levels. The survey found students identifying as female were significantly more likely than students identifying as male to report Chronic Sad or Hopeless Feelings; and those identifying as female were also much more likely to report experiences of bullying and harassment at school, across all grade levels. Half of all lifetime mental health needs emerge before age 14; three-quarters before 24. 1.2m of California’s K-12 students already needed regular mental health services before COVID-19. The pandemic deepened this crisis by both increasing the need, making it less visible, and compounding the inequities that Black and Brown youth disproportionately face, and compounding inequities around gender identities. AB 462 will help ensure that more mental health service providers are available so California’s youth, families, workers, survivors of trauma, and most vulnerable residents can meet their mental health needs.

 Assemblywoman Wendy Carrillo was elected as the representative of the 51st Assembly District in December of 2017. She is the Chair of Budget Subcommittee #4 on State Administration, and a member of the Appropriations, Budget, Health, Privacy and Consumer Protection, and Utilities and Energy Committees, as well as Chair of the Uplifting Girls and Women of Color in California Select Committee. Assemblywoman Carrillo represents the people of East Los Angeles, Northeast Los Angeles, and the neighborhoods of El Sereno, Echo Park, Lincoln Heights, Chinatown and parts of Silver Lake.