Research Alert: August 28, 2023

New Recap on the Rural Behavioral Health Workforce

Gateway has developed Rural Health Research Recaps to identify the key findings from the Rural Health Research Centers on specific rural health topics. The following Recap examines the behavioral health workforce supply, including the distribution of counselors, psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers.

Rural Behavioral Health Workforce

  • As of March 31, 2023, there were 4,040 Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas in rural areas, with 2,141 practitioners needed to remove the designations.
  • From 2014 to 2021, both rural and urban areas experienced increases in the supply of counselors, psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychologists, and social workers.
  • From 1995 to 2019, the ratio of psychiatrists per 100,000 residents declined in both rural and urban areas.
  • Regardless of the type of behavioral health professional, the West North Central and West South Central Census Divisions consistently had the highest percentage of counties without behavioral health professionals.
Contact Information:

Per Ostmo, MPA
Phone: 701.777.6522

Additional Resources of Interest: