New study shows lack of mental health workers, despite an increasing need.

New study shows lack of mental health workers, despite an increasing need.
Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 6:51 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - A new study just released shows there is a shortage of psychiatrists in our state, especially in eastern North Carolina, but other studies show the increasing need.

The most recent report from says that in 2021, one in five high schoolers reported seriously considering attempting suicide. It also mentioned that one in ten children was diagnosed with depression or anxiety in 2020.

Out of 15 of the ENC counties, 3 have at least one child and adolescent psychiatrist. But the rest don’t even have one. That’s all according to a study from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

“We have a real mental health crisis right now, and it’s coupled with this moment where we’re having a real workforce crisis,” said NC Department of Health and Human Services Mental Health Director Kelly Crosbie

Crosbie says there is a mental health worker shortage across the board. On top of that, therapist Barbara Kohler says there is definitely an increase in need.

“We have seen an uptick in treating children since COVID and so what we recommend is when working with children or just being with children in general is doing reflective listening,” said Kohler.

Parent Jennifer White says she can see the uptick in mental health concerns. As she sees some of the signs, her own child may be struggling, especially with the effects of social media. She hopes something is actually done to help.

“There is a huge piece, especially in middle school, that we’re missing as far as not just telling kids, ya know, don’t believe everything you see but like really putting it into practice and making it more peer-based, not just from adults,” said White.

Crosbie recommends if you notice a behavior change, reach out and try to have a conversation.

North Carolina’s mental health crisis line is 988, where you can call or text anonymously with 24/7 help from a trained crisis counselor.