Comstock's magazine 1118 - November 2018 - Page 49

“With longer wait times to see a psychiatrist, people’s conditions can deteriorate, which is more costly in the long run. We’re talking about people’s lives at stake here.” - ADRIENNE SHILTON, DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS, STEINBERG INSTITUTE disadvantaged, rural areas because he says those students will be more likely to return to their com- munities and help improve access to quality care for the underserved. Another big problem is the lack of data. “We have licensing boards in California that collect information on our 80,000 behavioral health pro- fessionals,” Shilton says. That data is focused on public information regarding its licensees and reg- istrants (name, license status, citations, etc.), but more data is needed. “Are they serving the men- tally ill? How many languages do they speak? That type of data just doesn’t exist.” The Steinberg Institute, launched by current Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg during his time as Senate pro tem, wants to expand the work- force across all licensed disciplines. That means more therapists, which include clinical social workers, counselors and psychologists; and more psychiatrists, who unlike nonclinical therapists, have earned medical degrees and can prescribe medication. That means more “peer providers,” a newer title for a person who may not have a behav- ioral health degree but shares the experience of a particular patient. The Institute was part of a coalition that suc- cessfully pushed for an infusion of new state fund- ing to grow the mental health workforce. This in- cludes more than $50 million in the 2018-19 state budget for workforce training, graduate medical education in the UC system, and scholarships to train primary-care providers in basic psychiatry. COSTS OF TREATMENT Dr. Beth Cohen was part of the UC system from 2006 to 2018, primarily as a senior psychologist for UC Davis’ Occupational Health Services. As director of UC Davis’ campus internal employees assistance program, Cohen helped provide clinical assessment, short-term counseling and organiza- tional consultations. The program also referred hundreds of individuals, couples or families to November 2018 | comstocksmag.com 49