Nearly 4.5 million more behavioral health professionals are needed in the U.S. to provide adequately staffed care for the current population with serious emotional disturbance (SED) and/or serious mental illness (SMI), and those with addiction/substance use disorder (SUD). The current behavioral health professional workforce is 684,039, based on lowest current workforce estimates. The estimated need for that workforce is 5.17 million, a shortage of 87%. Shortages were most pronounced in numbers among behavioral health counselors and peer support specialists with a shortage of full-time professionals of 1.4 million and 1.1 million . . .
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