Creating a Robust, Diverse, and Resilient Behavioral Health Workforce in Massachusetts

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The behavioral health workforce in Massachusetts is in crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the prevalence of behavioral health issues and demand for services, exposing and aggravating the vulnerabilities of Massachusetts’ behavioral health workforce and delivery system. Health care, including behavioral health care, has been among the industries hardest hit by the “Great Resignation,” exacerbating workforce shortages that predated the pandemic. These dynamics fuel an urgent call to action for Massachusetts to grow and support a workforce that can meet the pressing demand for behavioral health care in the Commonwealth. Informed by a literature review, the development of an inventory of promising models nationwide, and interviews with local and national stakeholders and experts, this report outlines seven concrete recommendations to expand Massachusetts’ behavioral health workforce, increase its diversity, maximize its potential to meet the needs of all people in the Commonwealth, and strengthen its resilience.