American Journal of Preventive Medicine: The Future of the Behavioral Health Workforce: Optimism and Opportunity

NYAPRS News:  As NYAPRS has been working on reconvening our Employment Committee, an issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine came to our attention at the perfect time. We would like to share this issue with our members who are involved in this workforce and identify with all of the issues researched and documented within these articles.  Dr. Ron Manderscheid is an international leader in the public mental health policy arena, with a perspective close to that espoused in Psychiatric Rehabilitation. His content is featured regularly in NYAPRS eNews  Drs. Manderscheid, Beck, and Buerhaus write of the opioid epidemic and its impact on the federal government’s decision to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency in 2017, “bringing attention to the desperate need for providers to engage in prevention and treatment interventions.  State and federal policies supporting mental health parity, reimbursement, and insurance expansion have collectively improved access to care, yet as the rates of uninsured adults decrease, more than half of the population with mental health conditions still does not receive needed treatment. With no indication that trends will reverse in the near future, a behavioral health workforce that was already in a state of shortage is now that much more stretched. In its broadest definition, the behavioral health workforce includes all who provide prevention or treatment services for mental health or substance use disorders. This includes a multitude of licensed and certified professionals, peer workers, case coordinators, and paraprofessional workers. Although definitions vary throughout the field, all have one thing in common: No matter who is counted as a behavioral health worker, the collective supply falls far short of needed demand.” To read more, see this special issue of the American Journal of Preventive

Medicine, the focus is on “a key element of mental health system infrastructure where substantial investment is needed to effect change: behavioral health human resources.”