Providers of mental health services have fewer workers

Mental health professional takes notes while listening to patient.
Mental health professional takes notes while listening to patient.
Jelena Stanojkovic / Shutterstock
Mental health services providers are facing staff shortages.

Providers of mental health services have fewer workers

The staff shortage may impede their ability to meet rising demand related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
June 29, 2021

Organizations providing mental health services to New Yorkers have seen their staff numbers shrink even as the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated symptoms of depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns for many people, NY1 reports. 

Providers attribute the shortage to insufficient funding that keeps many workers earning just minimum wage. A report from The Coalition for Behavioral Health released in February also found that workers helping people with mental health and substance abuse challenges have been strained by worsening mental health and frustration associated with the pandemic. 

And that shortage isn’t just a problem in New York: The Washington Post found that mental health practitioners across the country are having unprecedented difficulty filling positions.

The decline in the number of workers in the mental health space may limit providers’ abilities to meet the rising need for services. As of October 2020, more than one-third of all adults in the state reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, according to the New York State Health Foundation. Similar findings have also emerged nationally. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that 41.1% of adults have reported such symptoms since the start of the year, up from 11% from January to June 2019.

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.
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