Psychiatric Workforce Deficits in Florida


There has been a significant decline in the number of psychiatrists in Florida. It has negatively affected the type of services that are provided to the patients. The number of patients in the country grows every single year. Based on the research, this problem will prevail in the next couple of years. For example, according to the research, by 2025, there will be an increase of 19% in poor health services. This will happen since the funding of mental health services is very poor.

Magnitude of Mental Health Burden

Despite the fact that Florida is the fourth most popular state in America, its funding of mental health is poor. The funding ranks 49th among 50 states in America. The hospitals are short-staffed and still, the few psychiatrists available are underfunded. This situation is witnessed due to the $100 million cut from the mental health services’ budget since the year 2009 by the state legislators. The per capita expenditure measures indicate that the mental health services in Florida are 49th in the entire nation. In the year 2012, Florida spent only $37.28 per individual for providing the metal health services. This is less than one-third of the US average which was $125 despite having the following facts:

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  • There is estimation that 784,558 adults have serious mental health illness, 330,989 children have severe emotional disturbances, and 1.4 million or more adults and children experiencing psychological distress of a high level.
  • It is found that one out of two Floridians will note that at one point in their life time they experienced mental illness. There is a high proportion of uninsured population in Florida who are suffering from mental health illness issues. According to research, the portion ranks the state to be the third largest in the country which is above the national average.

The above facts have proven dangerous. There has been an increase in the number of attacks among the inmates in the Floridian hospitals. Forty percent of the 5,000 people who receive mental health care in the hospitals have committed some kind of crime. The staff shortage as well as poor security has resulted in injuries among the severely ill patients. This is a situation whereby such patients injure themselves. Out of the 1000 patients who injure themselves, 15 die and 3 die due to poor staffing (Zirkel, 2010).

According to research, an estimate of 26% of adults who are homeless and live in shelters suffer from a serious mental health illness while nearly 46% live with disorders that result from substance abuse and/or severe mental illness. 70% of the youth in juvenile justice systems have a minimum of one mental health condition. At least 20% of the youth live with a serious mental illness. It is estimated that only 41% of adults in Florida who have a mental health condition have been able to receive mental health services.

There has been an attempt to pass 22 bills by the Florida state legislature aimed at improving the mental health services though none has passed. There has been a claim that budgets have been allocated to the mental health facilities; yet, a lot of this money goes to the facilities responsible for delivering services related to substance abuse treatment in Florida. Although mental health and substance abuse tend to worsen each other, mental health hospitals and rehabilitation centers are not the same. Apart from poor treatment and increased crime rate in hospitals, more patients are using the emergency room for their regular care.

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There is some destabilization since emergency rooms are meant not for maintenance but crisis management. Florida has a low level of support to its mental health services; thus, it is a great challenge that requires the US to take extra efforts to improve the systems of mental health. This action is of great importance since it ensures a sustainable and productive workforce in the country. The burden of mental health challenge has been a great concern for the majority of the global health segments. Neuroscience has been one of the most essential components of understanding and resolving the challenge.

It also holds the backbone to understanding brain functioning and development. Besides, neuroscience also plays an essential role in establishing highly effective treatments for individuals suffering from mental health conditions. However, if the majority of the neuroscience discoveries are applied to improve brain health and people’s well-being worldwide, there will be a significant demand for enhanced strategies as well as official recommendations on the manner in which such findings may be executed. Mental health challenges are identified across all the population regardless of individuals’ classes and positions on the global economic echelon. The World Health Organization estimates that about 30 percent of the adult populations globally are mentally challenged with disorders such as schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression among others. However, treatments of depression and approaches to suicide prevention in particular are unevenly spread out. There is also a clear gap between mental health studies and services. As a result, it is very important to discover treatments for mental health challenges that could be delivered within a culturally diverse middle and low-income population where poverty levels, deficiency in number of physicians, and abject levels of stigma is a major phenomenon.

The resolve on global mental health is however now a one-way process. The understanding of middle and low-income nations also shows what individuals know concerning the impacts of financial and social deprivation on brain development in a wide range of populations. These aspects may also provide important insights into both mechanisms and resolutions to mental disorders. Besides, the learning process for the adaptation of clinical trials of psychological and pharmacological treatments encompasses different environmental and cultural elements with meaningful measures in this context which would be highly beneficial. This understanding could also help in the manifestation of new methodologies in developed countries which recently triggered important debates on how to enhance drug discoveries and other clinical trials.

With regard to treatments, another critical recommendation for the enhancement of close relationships between global neuroscience and mental health is to accommodate neuroscience predictors such as findings in areas including genetics under trials in both middle and low-income countries. Research domain criteria framework is established in search of new approaches to the classification of mental disorders according to neurobiological and behavioral measures. Behavior can also be observed objectively and evaluated on the basis of neurobiology. For instance, impulsive behavior may also lead to the situation when an individuals face problems finding whether they have attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, substance abuse, and mania among others. Subsequently, treatment plan adopted for impulsivity has also been identified as a useful process for individuals with different range of disorders. Modern approaches to genetics, behavioral science, and neuroscience may also be used in enhancing the understanding of mental disorders which can work effectively across different populations globally.

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Graphs and Statistics

There is a need to provide long-term health care to the Floridian citizens. There are five institutions that offer services to their patients who make about 8,357,100. These are: home health agencies (4,742,500), residential care communities (713,300), nursing homes (1,383,700), hospices (1,244,500), and adult day service centers (273,200). The elderly consist the largest number of persons who need long-term care. The people who are 65 years or older make about 63%; those who are 64-year old or younger comprise 37%. The entire scope of the statistics highlighted in the appendix is obtained from FloridaCenter for Nursing.

Determinants of Mental Health

According to the mental health professionals, the mental health is determined by various factors. These factors are broadly categorized as social, physical, psychological, and environmental. The unfavorable factors pose a higher risk of developing mental disorders to certain subgroups of the population. The challenges start before the birth of a child and continue accumulating throughout his/her life.

Environmental and social factors

The geographical location of a person, his living conditions within the community, and family members can play part in work stress as well as employment status. Mental health is caused by the pressures that results from th elack of employment, poverty, social isolation, and stress in the work place. Other social factors that influence health are: education, low income, race and ethnicity, poor transportation means, poor housing, insurance, and inadequate food access.

Physical/ biological factors

The genetic make-up of an individual can influence the development of mental illness of a person and traumas which result from head injuries. The biological factors can also change the personality of an individual at the same time bringing about illness symptoms. Deficiency in minerals and vitamins in the diet of an individual and misuse of drugs and alcohol can also affect one’s mental health.

Psychological factors

People face psychological problems in life that result from past or current experiences. Some of the experiences are difficult to live with; therefore, most of them make the individuals develop mental and emotional health problems. Some of the psychological factors include bereavement, abuse, and divorce.

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Family history

Mental health problems can also develop due to heredity. The problem of mental health can be transmitted from the parent to the off springs though this is not always the case.



Patients are stakeholders who pay for the services as well as use the end products of the service. The patient is the main focus on issues of policies and legislation of health care. The patients possess a lot of knowledge since they gain experience when receiving medical care. Despite having a lot of experience, the patient is denied most of the opportunities that contribute to decision-making and policy making systems. The interests of medical professionals, health care organizations, and other providers of health care are represented by professional organizations, government bodies, and labor unions.


The government plays a crucial role in the mental health services through the administration headed by Ministers of Health. The country is divided into territories, with each managed by the Minister of Health. Each Minister of Health is concerned with the health agencies on his territory. The agencies create policies, legislations, and programs which are used in administering plans of health insurance and delivering of health services. This is done through various organizations.

Medical Professionals

These are stakeholders who play the most crucial role in the health centers. They provide the patients with health care services. These professionals include nurses and physicians among other health care providers. The mentioned stakeholders are regulated by their territorial legislation.

Professional Licensing Bodies and Associations

Health professions are regulated by the legislation on the specific territories and provinces. These regulations’ power can be granted to associations and licensing bodies. The associations and licensing bodies establish and maintain standards of practice, codes of conduct, and professional standards for the respective professionals.

Students of Health Care 

These are students who are in the process of undertaking their studies, and their area of specialization is mental health services. This group consists of future nurses, physicians, and other providers of health care.

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Protective Associations and Societies

These are non-profit organizations that offer funds to their clients so as to provide protection to their members. Their another function is to provide education and information concerning issues and risks related to their profession. The members receive representation, financial assistance, and legal advice from the respective associations and societies.

Labor Unions

Labor unions are stakeholders who negotiate the employment conditions and terms between the employer and the employees. The unions bargain on such issues with the aim of reaching an agreement between the two. The negotiations also involve the issue of funding the union and other requirements of the employees. Employees contribute to the unions through payment of dues. In cases where the two parties do not reach an agreement, a mediator who is appointed by the government is involved (Zirkel, 2010). If the mediator is unable to solve the problem, employees stop working by holding a strike.

Medical Schools

These organizations offer education to students which are based on mental and emotional health services. They offer research, education, and other services related to health care institutions.


The problem of decline in the number of service providers can be solved through: increased salaries to the service providers, creating good working environments for the workers, funding the institutions that offer mental health services so that they can be in a position to purchase all the necessary equipment in the mental health sector.

Priorities and Layout Policy

Extreme shortage of psychiatrists in Florida has been a major challenge in developing sustainable growth across the state by virtue of resolve to mental health challenge. In essence, the increase in the number ofpsychiatrists in Florida is one of the ultimate projected priorities in resolving mental health challenge. The legislation should execute policy development through diverse approach to complement the undertakings of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). The DCF has been the only agency responsible for mental health enhancement in the state of Florida. In essence, the legislature should enact policies that would help facilitate inter-agency involvement in enhanced mental health in the state.

The state should also develop policies to institute physical infrastructures that would facilitate the development of mental health facilities and important correction institutions such as counseling facilities in the informal sector. For instance, village elders are essential pillars to enhanced social counseling facilities in the state. The legislature should also enact policy interventions that would help increase funding of the community-based mental health services. Besides, the policy interventions that would address the deficit of mental health professionals through enhanced training projections would enhance availability of mental health services across different segments of Florida, particularly for people in rural areas.

Implement Program and Evaluate

The legislature should institute new funding prospects for mental health facilities and practitioners in order to improve physical support for the mental health segments as well as enhance the human resources for the state to undertake its psychosocial treatment projections. In this regard, psychiatric services should be established and rolled out across different government health departments to take advantage of the existing health facilities with specialized treatment plan. Subsequently, this process would result in community and social skills development.

Quarterly statistical report on the progress in mental health sector should be prepared to assess the development of the resources available in state health facilities. Besides, this process would also help revamp the mental health sector by promoting interventions of the private sector. High profile medical camps constituting of professional teams should develop a mechanism of promoting mental health in the Florida community. It should integrate mental health services from the psychiatrists perpetrating their services in the state health departments.


Good mental health is important in the overall well-being of an individual. It is necessary in order to allow children and their families to reach their potential in life. Health allows people to work productively and therefore increase their income and develop economically. The state should provide quality health care and ensure that is easily accessed by the public.

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