PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island’s behavioral health-care workforce, which is primarily white and English-speaking, does not reflect the racial and cultural diversity of state residents and efforts must be made to close this gap, a report by the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island says.
The report also says insurance difficulties and low reimbursement rates to clinical social workers, mental health counselors, psychologists and other providers are additional obstacles to meeting behavioral health-care needs, which have intensified during the pandemic.
The 34-page report, overseen by Dr. Ernestine Jennings, a research scientist at The Miriam Hospital and a professor at Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School, was based on an in-depth survey of nearly 750 specialists. An overwhelming majority, 85%, were white. Fewer than 5% were Latino, with Blacks comprising 2% and Asians 1.4%.