According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), professional social workers are the largest group of mental health service providers in the country. Social workers often work in multidisciplinary teams together with health and education professionals. Professional social workers are the largest group of mental health service providers. Psychiatrists primarily diagnose, treat, and help prevent mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders.
They use psychiatric medicine, physical exams, and laboratory tests. Most mental health professions require at least a bachelor's degree, except for psychiatric nurses, and many require additional graduate education and certification. Psychologists deal with a variety of topics, from relationship problems to mental illness, through counseling. For example, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) manages the National Health Services Corps, which offers loan or grant repayments to those providing health care services in underserved communities.
Learn more about how mental health has changed during the pandemic and follow how jobs in the health sector have grown over the past two decades. In addition to similar financial incentives, the HRSA will exempt J-1 visa holders from residency requirements who agree to provide medical care for three years in an area with a shortage of health professionals, encouraging foreign providers to address the needs of underserved areas. While the pandemic has exacerbated underlying mental health problems for many Americans, barriers to receiving mental health care have existed for years. The HRSA manages the behavioral health staff education and training program, which provides training funds to colleges, universities, and training schools that prepare people for behavioral health jobs, with an emphasis on helping people from underrepresented minorities or disadvantaged backgrounds.
While this field is growing due to the increase in insurance coverage for mental health and substance use services and the rising rate of military veterans seeking behavioral health services, there is a severe shortage of staff for health professionals and paraprofessionals in the United States. The mission of SAMHSA is to lead public health and service delivery initiatives that promote mental health, prevent substance abuse, and provide treatment and support to promote recovery, while ensuring equitable access and better outcomes. To make it easier for behavioral health organizations to prepare to compete in this environment, SAMHSA created the BHBusiness Plus initiative, which works with hundreds of behavioral health providers across the country. There are currently more than half a million people working in mental health roles such as psychiatry, psychology, counseling and therapy.
Wyoming and Utah have the highest proportion of the population living in areas with mental health shortages, at 96.4% and 83.3%, respectively. The training of a mental health professional depends on their specific field, as well as the state in which they practice. We've put together the basic information you need to learn about the different types of mental health professionals. The Health Resources and Services Administration tracks areas with a shortage of health professionals, which are geographical areas, population groups, or health care facilities designated as having a shortage of health providers.
An estimated 122 million Americans, or 37% of the population, lived in 5,833 areas with a shortage of mental health professionals as of March 31...