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Health Aff (Millwood). 2013 Nov;32(11):2005-12. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2013.0541.

Mental health and addiction workforce development: federal leadership is needed to address the growing crisis.


The mental health and addiction workforce has long been plagued by shortages, high turnover, a lack of diversity, and concerns about its effectiveness. This article presents a framework to guide workforce policy and practice, emphasizing the need to train other health care providers as well as individuals in recovery to address behavioral health needs; strengthen recruitment, retention, and training of specialist behavioral health providers; and improve the financial and technical assistance infrastructure to better support and sustain the workforce. The pressing challenge is to scale up existing plans and strategies and to implement them in ways that have a meaningful impact on the size and effectiveness of the workforce. The aging and increasing diversity of the US population, combined with the expanded access to services that will be created by health reform, make it imperative to take immediate action.


Health Professions Education; Health Reform; Mental Health/Substance Abuse; Workforce Issues

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