Expanding California's Behavioral Health Workforce

Featured Resource: 2021 Behavioral Health Workforce Assessment

The California Department of Health Care Services is expanding the state’s behavioral health workforce to improve access, engagement, and productive participation in behavioral health services for individuals and communities throughout the state. Since 2021, the state has invested more than $197 million in growing the workforce through the Behavioral Health Workforce Development Initiative.

Through the BHWD Initiative, DHCS aims to diversify and enhance the workforce across geography, race, ethnicity, language, culture, sexual orientation, gender identification, and other provider characteristics to improve access to by ensuring that communities find themselves represented in their care providers. The BHWD Initiative funds organizations across California to recruit, mentor, and retain behavioral health professionals, including making a significant investment in the peer workforce who offer treatment to individuals with substance use and opioid addiction. These awards align with the state’s broad strategy to build a health workforce that represents California’s diverse communities and provides people with the quality care they deserve, while addressing the shortage of health workers across California.

The BHWD Initiative is composed of four workforce projects: Peer Workforce Investment (PWI), Expanding Peer Organization Capacity (EPOC), Mentored Internship Program (MIP), and Behavioral Health Recruitment and Retention (BHRR).

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