Wednesday, December 29, 2021

New England's Mental Health Care Shortage

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) designates a geographic area, population group or facility where access to mental health care providers is substandard as a health professional shortage area (HPSA) for mental health care services. This designation can be based on the size of the HPSA's population relative to either (a) the number of psychiatrists, or (b) the combined number of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers and certain other types of mental health care providers that serve the community. Most mental health care shortage designations are currently based on an HPSA's population relative to the number of psychiatrists serving the community.

As of December 31, 2021, mental health care HPSAs in the six-state New England region accounted for about 1.6% of the U.S. population who lived in mental health care shortage areas, and about 1.8% of the overall national shortage of mental health care providers.  To eliminate the shortage, the HRSA estimates that New England HPSAs would need 122 additional mental health care providers.  A further review of HRSA data reveals the following about New England's mental health care shortage:

New England's Mental Health Care Shortage

New England's Mental Health Care Shortage

State (1) HPSAs (2) Population (3) Shortage
CT 38 1,110,816 62
ME 65 326,422 28
MA 57 310,639 19
NH 22 93,150 3
RI 12 395,297 10
VT 11 N/A N/A
Region 205 2,236,324 122
U.S. 6,078 136,575,592 6,851

(1) Designated Geographic, Population Group and Facility HPSAs with a mental health care shortage
(2) Population of designated HPSAs
(3) Mental Health Care practitioners needed to remove HPSA Designation

Source:  Designated HPSA Quarterly Summary, 12/31/21 (HRSA)

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