In today’s United States, more than one in five adults struggle with mental illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What’s more, one in five of the country’s youth say they currently deal or previously dealt with a mental illness—and a CNN poll from 2022 showed that 90% of adults believe there’s a mental health crisis in America. With so many in the U.S. struggling with mental illness, it’s concerning to learn that many behavioral health providers are in short supply. If you’re a travel psychiatric nursing provider, here’s how you can partner with us to help fill the gaps.
Inside the Behavioral Health Staffing Shortage
What’s behind these staffing woes? While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s causing the shortage, looking at behavioral health workforce trends gives us an idea. Similar to other medical professions, behavioral health professionals are feeling increasingly overworked. In fact, according to a study conducted by The National Council for Mental Wellbeing, 93% of behavioral health professionals who responded say they’ve been feeling burned out. In addition, about half of these respondents said current workforce shortages have caused them to look for employment elsewhere.
According to Mental Health America’s 2023 “State of Mental Health in America” report, almost a third of those living with mental illness in the country said they couldn’t get the treatment they needed. The cost of care was the biggest reason why these Americans couldn’t receive treatment, but many also said they simply did not know where they could go to get help. Take that with the fact that over 160 million people live in areas with a shortage of psychiatrists, and it’s clear the lack of these professionals likely contributes to fewer people getting treatment.
The workforce shortage impacts rural health facilities, federally qualified health centers, Indian Health Services (IHS) facilities, and correctional facilities the most, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Low-income and Medicaid-eligible people face the brunt of the shortages.
How Can Travel Psychiatric Nursing Help?
While much of the behavioral healthcare staffing shortage is due to a lack of psychiatrists, expanding the mental health workforce in general can help plug some of the staffing holes. The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) has reported that the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) said the country needs 500,000 more psychiatric-mental health (PMH) nurses to reach adequate levels of access to care.
In the meantime, however, travel psychiatric nurses can make an immediate impact. For example, according to the APNA, very few psych nurses work in rural areas. Those who are willing to take short- or long-term travel opportunities to these underserved locations will help increase access to critical mental health services. In addition, travel psych nurses can take assignments at jails and prisons that need extra hands.
Partner with Us
At Barton Healthcare Staffing, we help connect short-staffed facilities with highly-skilled travel nurses and allied health professionals. In fact, we often work with rural healthcare centers, correctional facilities, and IHS clinics to help fill their gaps. If you’re a psychiatric nurse looking to travel to help people who need it the most, reach out to one of our recruiters today to find an assignment that meets your professional goals and personal wants. You can also check out our open positions online.