A person’s ability to schedule an appointment with a mental healthcare provider should be as convenient as making an appointment with a primary care physician, but it’s not. Due to the mental health provider shortage and the increasing mental health crisis among the U.S. population, there’s a struggle to receive timely care.
When people can’t get the proper mental health care they need, it affects their relationships, work, social life and their overall livelihood. Graduates of Avila University’s online Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology with a concentration in Mental Health program have the skills and knowledge to help people who struggle with mental health issues and help fill the critical gap in the mental health profession.
What Is the State of the Mental Health Crisis?
The U.S. faces a troubling combination of an ongoing mental health crisis and a distinct shortage of mental health providers and related professionals.
The Commonwealth Fund reports that nearly half of all U.S. citizens will experience a behavioral health issue in their lifetime, ranging from mood disorders to substance use disorders. According to Kaiser Family Foundation research, almost half of Americans lived in a mental health workforce shortage area in 2022.
Moreover, the provider shortage and mental health crisis worsened during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, with roughly 40% of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety or depression. In contrast, fewer than half of people with mental illness had access to the care they needed.
These statistics underscore the widespread need for more mental and behavioral health professionals.
Reasons for the Mental Health Provider Shortage
There’s not simply one reason for the mental health provider shortage in the United States — there are many. According to Counseling Today, an American Counseling Association publication, five key reasons for the shortage include:
- Lack of funding
- Poor reimbursement rates
- Low retention of therapy professionals
- Increased need for services paired with limited access to care
- An aging workforce of therapy professionals
The U.S. must address this provider shortage and ensure that those suffering from mental health issues can receive the care they need. Programs like Avila University’s online M.S. in Psychology – Mental Health can help address this demand.
Earn an Online M.S. in Psychology – Mental Health Degree
Aspiring mental health professionals can gain the knowledge, skills and qualifications to succeed in the field through a specialized M.S. in Psychology – Mental Health. In as few as 12 months, you’ll develop an advanced understanding of how addiction, stress and trauma challenge people of all backgrounds. Graduates of this program can pursue a career as a postsecondary instructor, case manager or children’s division worker.
The flexibility of an online M.S. program allows you to continue working full-time while pursuing this degree at your desired pace from the comfort of your own home. Additionally, you can use this psychology master’s degree to continue into a doctoral program.