Data suggests that only 4% of psychologists specialize in meeting the mental health and substance abuse treatment needs of the rapidly expanding population of older adults. The April 2015 edition of the American Psychologist offers a blueprint for the profession to increase the capacity of its workforce to meet these needs.
The lead author of the article is Dr. Michael Hoge, the Annapolis Coalition’s Senior Science and Policy Advisor. He served on the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Committee on the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Workforce for older adults and contributed to it 2012 report. In this most recent work, he and his colleagues review the progress within psychology on the workforce development priority areas identified in the IOM report. They recommend eight action steps for building competence throughout the profession in caring for older adults. The authors conclude by identifying the various forces at play within the nation and its health care system that may prompt greater attention by psychology to this critical workforce issue.
The IOM report is also available to read online.