According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 80% of individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD) do not get needed care; 57% of those with mental illness also do not get needed care and fully one-third of those living with serious mental illness do not get the care they need. Given the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) mission to reduce the impact of mental illness and substance misuse on America’s communities, ensuring that individuals with mental and SUDs have access to evidence-based high-quality care is a critical focus. A major factor in achieving this goal is addressing the training and education needs of practitioners.
To facilitate the achievement of this goal, data on the current numbers and trends within practitioner fields is imperative. The “Behavioral Health Workforce Report” consists of four parts. First, it describes various types of evidence-based models of care. Each description discusses the various staffing models for both mental health and substance use models of care. This report encompasses many but not all treatment settings and includes the providers necessary for operations. States may also have different staffing requirements from those provided in this report. There may be additional provider types, depending on state regulations, working in these settings that are not included in this report. Second, the document estimates the number of providers needed for 13 different mental health care models inclusive of three models of care addressing the needs of children and youth with serious emotional disturbance (SED)/serious mental illness (SMI). Included in the discussion of mental health resource needs for children and youth are school-based mental health services. Third, the report estimates the number of providers needed for three SUD models of care. Fourth, the document enumerates the supply and demand for each behavioral health occupation.
The identified number of behavioral health providers needed in the United States in this report are based on conservative estimates of those requiring access to mental health and substance use disorder services. This report shows the stark contrast between providers that are currently available versus what is needed to address the mental health issues faced by millions of Americans. The goal of this report is to provide information on evidence-based models of care for those with serious mental illness and substance use disorders, practitioner numbers needed to meet the behavioral health needs of the American people, and to offer a foundation on which a model for a mental health system that will address these needs can be established.
Read the full report here.