How to fix the critical shortage of Mental Health professionals- 1 example within our own community

chrostowskiThe American Psychological Association reports alarming concerns about the critical shortage of mental health professionals.Access to mental health care is worse than other types of medical services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated in 2010 that the country had 156,300 mental health counselors. Access to mental health professionals is worse than for other types of doctors: 89.3 million Americans live in federally-designated Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas, compared to 55.3 million Americans living in similarly-designated primary-care shortage areas and 44.6 million in dental health shortage areas. According to the National Institute on Health nearly one in five counties (18%) in the nation had unmet need for non-prescribers and nearly every county (96%) had unmet need for prescribers.  Learn what Aurora Behavioral Health Services is doing to help.

The Counseling Psychology program at Marquette University educates and trains Master’s level counseling psychologists and Doctoral level counseling psychologists. The College of Education at Marquette University annually recognizes a community partner who has had a significant impact on the training of their students. Aurora Behavioral Health Services (ABHS) was named as the Human Service Partner Award recipient for 2014 for the outstanding training provided to Marquette students in the Counseling Psychology program.

The Human Services/Foundation Partner Award recognizes collaborative community partners with whom we share the resources, rewards, and risks associated with serving the community and advancing the field of education and mental health.

Jay Chrostowski, PsyD, Director of the student placements at Aurora Behavioral Health Services describes the collaboration. “We are helping to develop the next generation of behavioral health providers. We have had students placed in the eating disorder program, mental health partial hospital program, mental health intensive outpatient program, and in the addictions programs at Aurora Psychiatric Hospital, and at the Neuropsychology Service at Aurora St. Lukes’s Medical Center. Our relationship with this program began over 10 years ago at the behavioral health outpatient health center at Aurora Sinai Medical Center, where we established an affiliation agreement with Marquette University’s Counseling Psychology program. Our first placements were with child/adolescent group therapy services at Aurora Sinai, and we expanded our training opportunities in following years. The relationship is especially successful for the substance abuse programs because the students obtain hours towards a State of WI certification in substance abuse.  It has been a very good relationship promoting workforce development.”

Aurora Behavioral Health is able to provide excellent real-life training/educational experiences for the students, and frequently Aurora Behavioral Health Services hires former students after they graduate.  This allows us to get to know the skills, work ethic, and values of each student prior to hiring, which is part of why ABHS has such an excellent staff.

The award was presented as part of a larger award ceremony honoring students, faculty, and community agencies on Tuesday, April 22nd.

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