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
Senator
Anna Caballero

(D – Merced)
Senator Bill Dodd
Senator
Bill Dodd

(D – Vacaville)
Senator Sydney Kamlager
Senator
Sydney Kamlager

(D – Los Angeles)
Senator Henry Stern
Senator
Henry Stern

(D – Los Angeles)
Senator Thomas Umberg
Senator
Thomas Umberg

(D – Santa Ana)
Senator Scott Wiener
Senator
Scott Wiener

(D – San Francisco)
Rebecca Bauer-Kahan
Assemblymember
Rebecca Bauer-Kahan

(D – San Ramon)
Assemblymember Adam Gray
Assemblymember
Adam Gray

(D – Merced)
Assemblymember Kevin Kiley
Assemblymember
Kevin Kiley

(R – Granite Bay)
Assemblymember Brian Maienschein
Assemblymember
Brian Maienschein

(D – San Diego)
Assemblymember Devon Mathis
Assemblymember
Devon Mathis

(R – Visalia)
Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian
Assemblymember
Adrin Nazarian

(D – Van Nyus)