Building The Community-Based Mental Health Workforce To Expand Access To Treatment

Addressing our country’s mental health crisis will require a multipronged approach over many years. Steps are being made at every level of government: States are beginning to strengthen and enforce insurance protections for mental health conditions and implementing Medicaid waivers to expand home- and community-based mental health services; Congress passed legislation in 2014 for a pilot program that created a new kind of community behavioral health clinic to deliver a more holistic set of treatment services; and city governments are examining ways to connect people in mental health crisis to care rather than the local correctional system. A centerpiece of these efforts must be workforce incentives to build a strong pipeline of mental health treatment professionals and to adequately compensate these positions, particularly community-based mental health professionals. Without workforce development initiatives, access to treatment will remain elusive for millions because there are simply not enough workers.  

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