What is being done to address the shortage of mental health workers?

COLUMBUS, Ohio — With Ohio continuing to struggle with a shortage of mental health professionals, lawmakers worked with medical schools in northeastern Ohio to get students into the workforce faster.

According to the Ohio Chapter of the National Psychiatric Alliance of Ohio (NAMI Ohio), there is only one psychiatrist for every 10,000 Ohioans, despite increased demand for services.

The case of Luke Russell and his daughter shows how difficult it is to find someone to help. She is 18 years old, has bipolar disorder and is having trouble finding someone to take her patient.

“I am the director of NAMI,” said Russell. “I know everyone in the system!”

He asked if the executive director of NAMI Ohio can’t find a provider. Dr. Randy Welton says his one reason could be in the startling statistics of the current labor shortage.

“Ohio has about 50 percent of the psychiatrists we need,” Welton said.

Welton is Professor and Chief of Psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical College, also known as NEOMED.

Portage County Republican Rep. Gail Pavliga said he was tired of doing nothing.

“There’s one thing you can say, ‘You should,'” said Pavriga. “It’s another matter to say, ‘How do we take the next step?'”

Working with State Senator Teresa Gabarone (R-Bowling Green), they worked with NEOMED to create legislation to address the shortage of mental health professionals.

“This will create new licensed professionals in Ohio with the ability to prescribe and work under the supervision of medical professionals, providing greater access to individuals in need of mental health services. will be,” said Gabarone.

A certified mental health assistant is similar to becoming a physician’s assistant. Students are still required to complete a bachelor’s degree, but instead of going through four years of medical school, individuals only have to do this new program twice. is enough.

“The demand for services goes far beyond new people coming in to treat people who need help,” Russell said. It can really help.”

Some details of the bill have yet to be worked out and will be formally introduced next week. Lawmakers will propose it in both Senate and House related bills, allowing lawmakers to streamline the process. MPs aren’t sure it will be heard, but would like to share the idea so other MPs can think about it.

Follow WEWS State Capitol Correspondent Morgan Trau twitter and Facebook.

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