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Report recommends $128 million ‘down payment’ to train thousands more mental health care workers in San Diego



San Diego’s significantly undersized mental health care workforce is underpaid compared to peers in other California markets and is so burnt out dealing with broken bureaucratic paperwork requirements that 44 percent of current workers say they may seek different jobs in the next 12 months.

Those are the main observations of a new report compiled by San Diego Workforce Partnership, which surveyed nearly 1,600 local behavioral health workers. Their responses, combined with plenty of statistics and peer-reviewed research, paint a sobering picture of an industry estimated to serve more than 400,000 county residents per year.

The 92-page treatise — available at — is to be discussed in detail during a free symposium at San Diego Central Library on Aug. 23.

Requested by Nathan Fletcher, chair of the county board of supervisors, during his 2021 state of the county speech, the report was jointly commissioned by the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency and Alliance Healthcare Foundation.

“I think we can be idealistic about making it better without being under any illusion that it’s going to be easy,” Fletcher said. “Not everything in here is going to get addressed right away, but if we’re not honest about where we need to go, then we can’t make the substantive progress that people who use these services count on.”

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