Behavioral health experts offer roadmap to address growing workforce crisis

A newly published article addresses critical issues regarding the mental health and addiction workforce, including an insufficient number of practitioners, high turnover, lack of diversity and inadequate preparation. This situation is predicted to worsen given the rapidly aging and increasingly diverse U.S. population, combined with expanded access to healthcare under the Affordable Care Act.

Michael Hoge, PhD, professor of psychiatry, is lead author of the article that appears in the November 2013 workforce-themed issue of Health Affairs. Dr. Hoge will join a number of invited experts in health care policy at a special forum on Thursday, November 14th in Washington, D.C. to unveil the issue of Health Affairs and discuss the nation’s healthcare workforce challenges. The briefing is a collaboration between Health Affairs and Academic Medicine. Funding for the issue and the briefing was provided by a number of organizations including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation.

Dr. Hoge is director of Yale Behavioral Health, of the Yale Group on Workforce Development, and of Clinical Training in the department's Psychology Section.

Authors of the article suggest that a comprehensive nationwide effort to systematically strengthen the behavioral health workforce is "long past due." They offer a framework for action that involves broadening the concept of "workforce" in behavioral health; strengthening the existing workforce; and creating a national infrastructure to support workforce development.

Dr. Manuel Paris, Jr. is also a Yale author on this publication. He is an associate professor of psychiatry and deputy director of Hispanic Services at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. Other authors are affiliated with the Annapolis Coalition on the Behavioral Health Workforce, a non-profit organization of which Dr. Hoge is a founding member and the current Senior Science and Policy Advisor.

The publication can be accessed at both the Health Affairs and Annapolis Coalition websites.

This article was submitted by Shane Seger on November 4, 2013.