The Behavioral Health Workforce in Rural America: Developing a National Recruitment Strategy

Authors: Nancy Baum | Jaque King

Topics: Behavioral Health, Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), Rural Health, Staffing

Research Center: Behavioral Health Workforce Research Center

March 10, 2020

Rural communities have some of the largest need for behavioral health care providers and yet the lowest availability. This is reflected in the fact that more than 60% of rural Americans live in a mental Health Professional Shortage Area, and more than 90% of psychologists and psychiatrists and 80% of social workers practice exclusively in metropolitan areas. By working with state rural health and health workforce offices, this study determined the current recruitment practices to both build the provider pipeline in a given state and incentivize practice in areas suffering from maldistribution of workers.

This report describes state incentives for behavioral health provider recruitment, particularly in rural areas.

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