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Alabama Department of Mental Health working to better workforce crisis, patient care


An Alabama organization is working to alleviate the state’s mental health workforce crisis. Hospitals and healthcare facilities in the state say staff shortages have reduced access to mental health care and provider capacity.

The Alabama Department of Mental Health is working to address this growing issue. ADMH is requesting a budget increase from lawmakers that will boost wages and expand care services.

Kim Boswell is a commissioner with ADMH. She said it’s difficult to find and keep employees.

“Alabama’s unemployment rate is very low. When you have more jobs than there are people to fill them, then wages become more competitive, and we have a much more difficult time recruiting and retaining employees with our department,” she explained.

Boswell said access to care is critical and there are many things that can go wrong if people don’t have access to it. She said not having access to treatment and support is a major problem for Alabama residents.

“It absolutely affects access to care," she explained. "Because if we don’t have people to deliver the services, then we’re unable to serve people, and it affects our provider capacity to be able to deliver the services that the citizens of Alabama need in their communities.

ADMH says East Alabama Medical Center was unable to provide access to mental healthcare to almost 500 individuals because of lack of available services.

Aniya Kinnion is a student intern in the Alabama Public Radio newsroom. She majors in News Media at The University of Alabama. She appreciates all forms of media and hopes to develop a career in reporting. In her spare time, she enjoys serving at her church, shopping, and advocating for IBD awareness.

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