Open Sky Community Services’ Advocacy Team works to highlight news that can help us all advocate for the Human Services and Behavioral Health Workforce.
The Association for Behavioral Health (ABH) released an issue brief summarizing their survey on mental health clinic access and workforce yesterday. The report shows troubling access barriers and evidence of a workforce crisis. The brief and its overview are below for reference.
Early media coverage is here:
- Boston Globe, Clinicians are leaving their jobs at mental health centers amid rising demand (paywall)
- WBUR, Report finds a 'workforce crisis' is behind long waits for mental health care in Massachusetts
- CommonWealth Magazine, 124 mental health clinics report 640 job vacancies.
Survey Brief and Overview (from the Association for Behavioral Health—ABH)
Unsurprisingly, the findings show unacceptable wait times to access services, long periods of time to fill vacancies, and evidence of staff departures that threaten the entire behavioral healthcare delivery system. The survey responses indicate:
- Nearly half (46%) of respondents report it taking 9 months or more to fill an independently licensed clinician position; Two-thirds (67%) of respondents report it taking 9 months or more to fill an MD prescriber position;
- Clinics surveyed reported an average of 17 staff vacancies; and,
- For every 10 clinicians entering work in mental health clinics, 13 clinicians leave.
This workforce crisis translates to an access crisis:
- Mental health clinics served 11% fewer individuals in 2021 than in 2019 prior to the pandemic;
- The average wait time for an initial assessment for children is 13.6 weeks;
- The average wait time for an initial assessment for adults is 10 weeks; and
- The average wait time for ongoing therapy is 15.3 weeks for children and 12.7 weeks for an adult.
ABH’s Brief summarizing those findings and making recommendations to improve access to outpatient services is available here. These findings will be used to further our ongoing advocacy.
For more information or to join the Advocacy Team at Open Sky, reach out to email@example.com .