Despite being a leader in educating, training, and licensing a behavioral health workforce that is more robust than many states, Massachusetts is experiencing a shortage of qualified behavioral health providers. This is reflected in long waiting lists for outpatient services and an insufficient number of available psychiatric beds, especially for children, because of high staff vacancies in licensed clinics and hospitals. Although these workforce challenges predate the COVID-19 pandemic, the gap between the demand for behavioral health services and the availability of providers has grown.
The need to attract and retain qualified providers to pursue careers in behavioral health is clear, but where and how to do this is less certain. To better understand challenges and gaps, three funders - Beatrice D. and Charles F. Adams Charitable Trust, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, and MetroWest Health Foundation - supported the Massachusetts Association of Mental Health (MAMH) to develop an inventory of existing recruitment and retention efforts in the Commonwealth. Results from this inventory offer a scan of existing programs and initiatives, an understanding of the limitations of current efforts, and suggestions for meaningful investments to support behavioral health workforce development in the Commonwealth. MAMH's Danna Mauch and Jenifer Urff will present key findings and recommendations from the report for discussion.
A link to the inventory and report will be circulated ahead of the meeting.