Apr 16, 2024 - News

Task force delivers recommendations on youth mental health workforce

Cleveland officials around a conference table.

County Executive Chris Ronayne and Mayor Justin Bibb, putting their heads together on youth mental health. Ohio Means Jobs executive director Michelle Rose (R) facilitated the meeting. Photo: Sam Allard/Axios

A task force assembled last year to address the shortage of youth mental health workers in Northeast Ohio has delivered its findings.

Why it matters: The region's social and behavioral health providers are hemorrhaging staff, as the workforce is drawn to higher-pay and lower-stress jobs in other fields.

Inside the room: At a roundtable discussion last week, the task force presented a landscape analysis of work already underway in Cuyahoga County and a set of seven recommendations.

  • The overarching recommendation was to sustain the ongoing collaborative effort to address the challenge.

What they're saying: "What we have here between funders, providers and workforce leaders deserves permanent staffing to implement [the other recommendations]," Ohio Means Jobs executive director Michelle Rose told Axios.

  • "These strategies are best addressed collectively."

Zoom in: Other individual recommendations drill down on ways to retain and expand the workforce, including through peer support, training, career awareness and policy advocacy at the state and federal levels.

  • The ultimate goal is to put more money into the pockets of workers.

What we're watching: The task force is optimistic about being aligned with Gov. Mike DeWine's commitment to growing the state's behavioral health workforce.

The bottom line: "Rebuilding and empowering a workforce that has been underpaid and undervalued is a long-term proposition," Mayor Justin Bibb said in a statement.

  • "These recommendations are a roadmap to advance this critical priority."
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