New report shows shortage in behavioral health workers
San Diego County is experiencing a shortage of behavioral health workers. A new report shows the need will continue to grow significantly over the next few years.
As it stands today, San Diego County is short nearly 8,000 behavioral health workers. This figure includes all areas like schools, law enforcement, and the healthcare systems.
Supervisor chair Nathan Fletcher gathered with other professionals at the San Diego Central Library for the Behavioral Health Workforce Symposium.
“Think about this, if everyone standing behind me broke their leg we would have no problem getting them in, getting them an X-ray, a cast, a set of crutches and they’d be home by lunchtime,” says Fletcher. “But if everyone behind me needed drug or mental health services, good luck, you’re going to wait 6 or 8 weeks.”
Fletcher says he ordered a report on the workforce about a year ago. It was unveiled Tuesday morning.
The report shows that 18,500 more professionals will be needed to meet the growing demand in San Diego County by 2027. It also provides a financial framework. At least $128 million will be needed to train more people in this field.