An alarming fact motivates our work: Unless bold action is taken, in the next seven years, California will lose 34% of it’s psychiatrists. Beyond psychiatrists, we face a serious shortage of behavioral health workers.

The Steinberg Institute Behavioral Health Workforce Strategy Group is made up of legislative leaders who have identified mental health and the correlating workforce shortage as a top priority. The group is dedicated to solving one of the biggest barriers to addressing California’s incessant, devastating, and ever-worsening mental health crisis: the shortage of behavioral health professionals. By bringing together global thought leaders and state lawmakers, this team will craft real solutions to this challenge so that all Californians in need can access the care they deserve.

The Steinberg Institute is grateful for Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s generous support of this vital project and for their steadfast commitment to advancing transformative public policy to support the health of all Californians.

What is the behavioral health workforce shortage?

California’s current behavioral health workforce meets only little more than 26 percent of its need. It is easy to see why one in 6 Californians live with a mental illness, but only a third of them receive treatment.

The consequences of this shortage are only going to intensify during the coming years. Levels of anxiety, depression, and suicides continue to skyrocket – accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brain health affects virtually every major budget and policy issue addressed by government: criminal justice, housing and homelessness, the plight of veterans, children, and education and more. But policy changes and financial investments will only go so far without addressing the underlying issue of supply and demand for health care.

Bottom line: If we fail to address the behavioral health workforce shortage, we will fall short in our attempt to meet the needs of the most vulnerable among us.

Members of the Behavioral Health Workforce Strategy Group

Senator Anna Caballero
Anna Caballero

(D – District 12)
Senator Bill Dodd
Bill Dodd

(D – District 3)
Senator Sydney Kamlager
Sydney Kamlager

(D – District 30)
Senator Henry Stern
Henry Stern

(D – District 27)
Senator Thomas Umberg
Thomas Umberg

(D – District 34)
Senator Scott Wiener
Scott Wiener

(D – District 11)
Joaquin Arambula
Joaquin Arambula

(D – District 31)
Rebecca Bauer-Kahan
Rebecca Bauer-Kahan

(D – District 16)
Assemblymember Laurie Davies
Laurie Davies

(R – District 73)
Assemblymember Mike Gipson
Mike Gipson

(D – District 64)
Assemblymember Adam Gray
Adam Gray

(D – District 21)
Assemblymember Kevin Kiley
Kevin Kiley

(R – District 6)
Assemblymember Tom Lackey
Tom Lackey

(R – District 36)
Assemblymember Brian Maienschein
Brian Maienschein

(D – District 77)
Assemblymember Devon Mathis
Devon Mathis

(R – District 26)
Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian
Adrin Nazarian

(D – District 46)