The November special issue of Health Affairs features an invited analysis and commentary on the behavioral health workforce written by a team assembled by Michael Hoge, Senior Science and Policy Advisor for the Coalition. The authors describe a mental health and addictions workforce facing longstanding issues, including shortages, high turnover, a lack of diversity, and concerns about its effectiveness. They highlight three factors that will make the workforce challenges more critical, including the rapidly aging U.S. population, its increasing racial and cultural diversity and expanded access to behavioral healthcare under the Affordable Care Act.
The coauthors are: Gail Stuart, Medical University of South Carolina; John Morris, Annapolis Coalition; Michael Flaherty, founder of Institute for Research, Education & Training in Addictions; Manuel Paris, Jr., Yale University; and Eric Goplerud, NORC at the University of Chicago.
Framework for action
The authors argue that it is imperative for immediate action to be taken to meet the challenges the mental health and addiction workforce faces now and in the future. They call on the federal government to scale up and implement broad strategies and specific actions that have been identified in previous analyses of the workforce crisis. Nine strategic goals are outlined, focusing on:
- broadening the concept of workforce in behavioral health,
- strengthening the existing workforce, and
- creating a national infrastructure to support workforce development.
On November 14, Dr. Hoge will participate with other experts in a special briefing on workforce issues hosted in Washington, DC by Health Affairs, two foundations, and a number of professional associations. The article and the presentation are part of the ongoing mission of the Coalition to bring attention to and action on workforce challenges in the mental health and addiction sectors of this field.
A copy of the article can be found here. The Annapolis Coalition has arranged for free public access to downloads of the publication for the next year.