Behavioral Health Workforce Shortages in California

August 12, 2021

On August 10, 2021, Kimberly Mayer, Center Director at CalSWEC, E. Maxwell Davis, Director of Integrated Behavioral Health Program at CalSWEC, and Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, MD, PhD, Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine, and Director, Center for Reducing Health Disparities, UC Davis, joined the Steinberg Institute Behavioral Health Workforce Strategy Group's briefing for State Senate staffers and served as panelists to discuss behavioral health workforce shortages in California.

Just one third of Californians who live with a mental illness receive the care they need due to a shortage of behavioral healthcare workers. The consequences of this shortage are only going to intensify during the coming years as professionals retire. The panel discussed the contributing factors to the shortages, specific impacts of these shortages on communities of color, LGBTQ+ folks, and other underrepresented communities, and actions needed to craft real solutions to this challenge so that all Californians in need can access the care they deserve.

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. For more information, visit the Steinberg Institute website.

Zoom screenshot showing Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, E. Maxwell Davis, Kimberly Mayer, Tara Gamboa-Eastman, and Maggie Merritt