Article in the DBJ: Why I’ll trade you improved mental health policies for job shortages in the industry

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This article appeared in the Denver Business Journal on Jul 5, 2017

By Ashley Lane Boyle, Empowered Partnerships LLC

“Giving has changed my life. Its created a world within my world filled to the brim with happiness,” said Ashley Lane Boyle.

 

The great industry shifts of our time are like a recruiter’s search process – it’s always an evolution.

Being in hiring and employment, trends fascinate me – What direction are things going? why and how does this affect us?

The mental health industry has certainly seen its fair share of highs and lows over the years, but more recent years have brought an imbalanced mix of supply and demand that’s confounded some social scientists.

Let’s look back. I like to affectionately refer to 2008 to 2010 as the “Employer Golden Years.” During this period, employers were over the moon as the market was driven in their favor. Well-qualified mental health professionals seemed to be everywhere and many employers felt as if they had their pick of the best of the best.

Things began to shift in March 2010 with the successful passing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We quickly began to see a new breath of life being given to the mental health market as it seemed to recognize the need for mental health services to be included for all American’s health care. With more of the population covered, the demand for services increased and therefore the number of jobs available for mental and behavioral health professionals grew with it.

At first, everyone was overjoyed and the mental health market finally seemed to be bringing itself into the social spotlight. Unfortunately, that bubble quickly burst. Jobs continued to open but the supply of professionals was not nearly able to keep up. Employers quickly found themselves in a tough hiring spot, particularly when came to licensed mental health professionals.

New graduates and job seekers entering into the mental health industry were increasing, but very slowly. Not nearly enough to keep up with the demand.

You can think of it this way, if the demand for mental health services was Google, then the active job-seeker market would be AOL trying to keep up.

And it has not stopped there.