Staff shortages fuel gap in mental health care

As a parent of a freshman at Michigan State University and a sophomore at the University of Michigan, my kids and I received emails about where individuals can get support. The same support is found in most communities across the state.

However, many residents who need treatment for mental health or substance use do not have prompt access to it due to increased needs for behavioral health care and staff shortages, particularly in rural and urban areas. A recent report by the MI Behavioral Health & Wellness Collaborative and Public Sector Consultants looked at the unmet behavioral health needs in Wayne County and found huge gaps between needs and actual care.

Resolving the mental health crisis requires system-wide change to break the cycle of people with unmet needs crowding our homeless shelters, overcrowding our prisons, and visiting our emergency rooms, writes Cherrin.

Unmet need refers to a person’s perceived need for mental health treatment or counseling without receiving care. Among adults who need mental health or care, some groups are more likely to face barriers to access care, including uninsured people, underinsured people. Unmet needs for mental health treatments and drug use will increase significantly over the next three years as mental illness has worsened and barriers to accessing healthcare have worsened.

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