Friday, January 7, 2022

The Great Plains Region's Mental Health Care Shortage

A facility, geographic area, or population group that has poor access to mental health care services can be designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as a health professional shortage area (HPSA).  A mental health care shortage designation can be based on either (a) the size of the HPSA population relative to the number of psychiatrists that serve the community, or (b) the size of the HPSA population relative to the combined number of psychiatrists and certain other mental health practitioners (clinical social workers, clinical psychologists, etc.) who service the HPSA. Per the HRSA, most mental health care shortage designations are currently based on an HPSA's population relative to the number of psychiatrists that serve the setting or community.  As of December 31, 2021, more than 136.5 million Americans lived in mental health HPSAs according to the HRSA.

The seven-state Great Plains region was home to 6.7% of the U.S. population who lived in mental health care HPSAs as of December 31, 2021.  The HRSA estimates that Great Plains region HPSAs would need 410 additional mental health care providers to eliminate the shortage in the region.  As such, HPSAs in the Great Plains region accounted for about 6.0% of the total national shortfall in mental health care providers.  A further examination of HRSA data reveals the following state-level details about the Great Plains region's mental health care shortage:

The Great Plains Region's Mental Health Care Shortage
The Great Plains Region's Mental Health Care Shortage

State (1) HPSAs (2) Population (3) Shortage
IA 95 1,811,002 58
KS 123 1,366,146 54
MN 120 2,092,098 81
MO 252 1,836,532 140
NE 80 1,053,939 27
ND 71 308,352 16
SD 59 658,742 34
Region 800 9,126,811 410
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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