Nebraska Sees 17% Growth in Behavioral Health Providers


Marley Doyle
By 
Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

A recent legislative report says Nebraska saw a nearly 17% increase in behavioral health providers in the state.

The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska recently released its report, which looked at providers from 2010 to 2018.

“Families in Nebraska often travel long distances or face long wait times before seeing a behavioral health provider,” BHECN Director Marley Doyle said. “We are working with partners across Nebraska addressing the behavioral health workforce shortage, with a goal of improving access and maintaining high-quality care.”

The state has been using innovative approaches to recruit and retain its workforce, Doyle said. In particular, the state has experienced increases among psychiatric nurse practitioners.

Despite the gains, a behavioral health care shortage remains in 81 of the state’s 93 counties, with 33 counties lacking any behavioral health providers. Doyle said the state is looking at how to integrate behavioral health into a primary care setting, because Nebraska has more primary care providers.

“Disparities in access to behavioral health services are particularly significant in rural Nebraska communities where adults, youth and children with mental illness may not receive treatment,” said Grace Mims, interim dean in the College of Education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

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