Meeting demand: How San Diego County plans to hire more behavioral health workers
The County of San Diego released a report Monday showing the area needs thousands of behavioral health workers in order to meet demand.
As a result of the high turnover, the county asked those in the field and students what they need in order to stay on their career path. Currently, the county has 17,000 behavioral health employees, and it believes it will need 18,500 new employees just to meet the increasing demand they are expecting over the next five years.
"It's heartbreaking to read that in some of these instances, a substance abuse counselor can leave and go to Chick-Fil-A and make more money. And so the immediate step is how can we increase their pay to stabilize and retain," explains Chair Nathan Fletcher. "And then how do we recruit new people who would like to work in this field?"
The report found that pay for San Diego County's behavioral workers is significantly less than surrounding areas, contributing to the "varying levels" of burnout 40% of the county's current behavioral health professionals reported feeling.