California may face a significant shortage of trained mental and behavioral health care professionals in the next one decade, leaving minorities and rural populations underserved, according to a recent report by the Healthforce Center at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF). The report found that the Golden State will have 41 percent less psychiatrists than required by 2028, if present trends continue.
The report titled “California’s Current and Future Behavioral Health Workforce,” was released on Feb. 12, 2018, to highlight the glaring reality that by 2028, many Californians diagnosed with psychiatric issues will face difficulties to access professional treatment and counseling, especially people living in the Central Valley and Inland Empire, which face a severe shortage of mental health specialists.
“This affects everybody grappling with any kind of mental or behavioral health condition, particularly those with chronic mental illness,” said Janet Coffman, an associate professor in policy at UCSF and one of the authors of the report. Coffman fears that many patients could find themselves in the emergency rooms and at primary care clinics statewide, where providers are ill-equipped to treat mental health and substance use disorders.
Drug abuse and addiction counselors earn the lowest
Funded by the California Health Care Foundation, the study analyzed various data sources, including the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the American Community Survey (ACS), and different licensing boards, to outline the gravity of the situation on the ground. Key findings of the report are:
- Across different regions in California, the population to behavioral health professionals’ ratios vary disproportionately with significant disparities in the San Joaquin Valley and Inland Empire region.
- Hispanics and African-Americans are inadequately represented among psychologists and psychiatrists with respect to California’s population. Hispanics also find insufficient representation among clinical social workers, including counselors.
- In the next one decade, 37 percent of psychologists, and 45 percent of psychiatrists who are above the age of 60 may most likely retire or work less.
- Given the wide disparities in salaries in the behavioral health sector, drug abuse and addiction counselors earn the lowest each year, while psychiatrists have the highest mean annual earnings.
- Behavioral health trainees are unequally distributed across the state, with no residency programs for psychiatrists and no doctoral programs in psychology in the San Joaquin Valley and Central Coast regions.
- In the light of the present trends, in the next 10 years, California would have 11 percent fewer licensed family and marriage therapists that include psychologists, and 41 percent less psychiatrists, leaving the state with a completely shattered mental health care system.
Mental health problems are treatable
Failing mental health is an ugly reality across America. Almost one in five adults in the U.S. experiences a mental illness in a given year, reports the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). However, less than half of the mentally ill individuals receive treatment for their condition. Therefore, it becomes even more important to invest in a robust diagnosis to deal with the mental health crisis.
If a person is grappling with symptoms of a mental disorder, he/she should follow a systematic treatment plan at a reputed rehab to prevent the condition from snowballing into possible long-term complications. Sovereign Health of San Clemente, one of the leading mental health facilities in California, offers a variety of customized therapies to treat psychiatric disorders. Clinicians at our world-class mental health inpatient treatment centers are trained to identify the underlying causes and prescribe customized treatments as well as group psychotherapy based on a patient’s requirements. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives to know more about our treatment programs.
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