Investing in the Development of Qualified Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Treatment Professionals

Published on November 18th, 2011

Summary

There is a growing demand for well-trained mental health and chemical dependency treatment professionals.  The economic and emotional stress many residents of New York State are experiencing requires the availability of competent professionals, appropriately trained to respond to the magnitude of the problem.

Conference Position

The Catholic Conference advocates for the development of public policies that support the training, recruitment and retention of qualified mental health and chemical dependency treatment professionals.

Rationale

Today’s world is a complex and stressful environment for many.  This results in an expanding need for helping professionals to assist individuals navigate through life without anxiety, fears and/or dependency on alcohol or other drugs.  The job of the mental health and chemical dependency treatment professional is a difficult one, but it can also be a satisfying and rewarding one.  It is, therefore, extremely important to support initiatives that encourage the recruitment, training and retention of qualified professionals.

The demands of the service delivery system require the development of a work force that is adequately trained, properly supervised, and appropriately compensated.  In order to increase the size and diversity of the human services work force, there must be a partnership between the public and private sectors.  Partnerships between state agencies and the state’s network of colleges and universities need to be developed for the purpose of expanding mutually beneficial programs.  Additional paid internships and field placements should be created to attract students and to ensure relevant training experiences.  Loan forgiveness programs should be developed to encourage graduates to pursue careers in these areas.  Private agencies have an obligation to provide initial training and access to continuing education to ensure that human service workers possess the necessary competencies.  Working together, the work force can be strengthened, so that once again human services are viewed as attractive careers.

Support for increased compensation in the publicly funded service system is needed.  Appropriate and sufficient salaries and benefits are a critical element in attracting and retaining qualified professionals.  Ongoing opportunities for participation in professional development activities need to be provided, with incentives throughout the course of one’s career.  Changes need to be made in order to create a career ladder and rewarding future for mental health and chemical dependency professionals who provide services to a significant and needy segment of our population.

You can download this document, Investing in the Development of Qualified Mental Health and and Chemical Dependency Treatment Professionals, in PDF form.

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