Increasing Access: Diversifying the Mental Health Workforce in Medical Alley

 // Reports

May 8  

Findings from a 2022 outreach initiative on increasing access for patients of color to mental health providers who look like them.

The mental health provider population does not demographically align with the patient population in Minnesota, creating accessibility barriers for patients of color seeking providers who look like them.

Emerging from the pandemic, Medical Alley’s Health Equity Working Group realized the importance of mental health to our collective well-being. After reviewing data from the MN Department of Health, it was clear that Minnesota’s mental health workforce is overwhelmingly white, speaks only English, and practices in urban areas.

Mental health is a complex and deeply personal journey, and integral to this is finding a provider with a similar background, culture, or lived-experience. As Minnesota’s population grows and becomes more diverse, we need a pool of qualified mental health professionals who represent our population to ensure more people can access and benefit from mental health services.

Therefore, Medical Alley is committed to understanding barriers which prevent diverse talent from pursuing these careers. The organization will continue to support efforts which increase access for people from underrepresented backgrounds to become a part of the mental & behavioral health workforce in Minnesota. Ultimately, our goal is to improve access and provide equitable care for all Minnesotans.

To understand some of these barriers, Medical Alley engaged in an outreach initiative to connect with leaders in mental and behavioral health who are working to diversify the mental health workforce. After engaging in these conversations, a series of roundtables were held to explore solutions and identify how Medical Alley can contribute to further study and action.

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