Helping News                                                  March, 2014   Issue 69

Rising Demand for Counseling Services:

Washington predicts more than 1.2 million individuals will be newly eligible for services in 2014, that are in need of some mental health counseling. According to the U.S. Department of Health, fifty-five percent of all U.S. counties have no psychiatrists, psychologists or counselors. They project a need of 8,000 mental health professionals to minimally fill the need as it stands, yet in most states, the average age of a professional counselor is 52 or more. In Idaho the average age of a counseling professional is over 57.

According to some learning institutions, enrollment rate is up for students preparing for a profession in mental health, yet the age of the average therapist continues to rise. The theory is that the extensive and costly education, low pay, and low reimbursement rates from healthcare plans, coupled with the high stress of the profession leads to low numbers of professionals staying in the field. 

"It's a critical problem, and the Medicaid
 expansion will make it even worse," said 
Susan Mandel, the CEO of Pacific Clinics,
 the largest mental health agency in 
Southern California. In this supposed time
 of enlightenment, with regard to the 
critical connection mental stability and 
physical health have, the picture becomes
 bleak in terms of the overall health of the 
population, and the long-term costs to the 
healthcare system and the individuals served.    

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