The Mental Health Workforce: Who's Meeting California's Needs?

The Mental Health Workforce: Who's Meeting California's Needs?

Rising demand for mental health care in California may put a strain on the state's healthcare system in the coming years, according to a new study by the University of California San Francisco's Center for the Health Professions. Funded by the California Endowment and the California HealthCare Foundation, the report, The Mental Health Workforce: Who's Meeting California's Needs? (116 pages, PDF), finds that Californians will require as many as 80,000 mental health professionals by 2010, nearly 30 percent more than the current workforce of 63,000. The report also examines the growth in various mental health occupations and finds that while the number of psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses is declining, there is a surplus of psychologists in the state's wealthiest areas. In addition to providing data about the state's mental health workforce, the report suggests that policy makers need to do a btter job of defining mental health roles and recommends that the state should consider moving to a demand-driven model of patient care.