Expanding and empowering Oklahoma’s behavioral health workforce.
Rising demand for mental health services has outpaced the growth of Oklahoma’s behavioral health workforce.
But Oklahoma has opportunities to expand the capacity of the workforce it does have, allowing more people to access and receive the treatment they need.
Healthy Minds’ workforce research focuses on extending behavioral health providers’ reach through technology and growing the number of critically needed mental health professionals.
psychiatric prescribers are needed per 100,000 people; Oklahoma has 10.3 psychiatrists per 100,000 people statewide.
Source: Health Resources & Services Administration, Healthy Minds research
mental health-related degrees were conferred by Oklahoma higher education institutions in 2021, a nearly 14% decrease since 2011.
Source: Oklahoma Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency
of Oklahomans, at most, are within a 30-minute drive of an in-network psychiatrist
Source: Healthy Minds research
The state of Oklahoma's behavioral health workforce
To grow the state’s behavioral health workforce, Oklahoma must attract prospective students to behavioral health degree programs that are high-quality, accessible, and affordable. Perhaps even more critical is ensuring the availability of “capstone” experiences — such as internships and residencies — that prepare individuals to become licensed professionals in Oklahoma.
Behavioral health workforce licensure in Oklahoma
Understanding the licensure process for behavioral health professionals is an important starting point for policy solutions that increase access to care for Oklahomans with mental health and substance use treatment needs.
Surveying Oklahoma’s behavioral health workforce
To better understand how accessible behavioral health providers are to Oklahomans across the state, Healthy Minds Policy Initiative conducted a survey of 622 of Oklahoma’s licensed behavioral health care providers.