Pandemic leads to more mental illness, but no staff, industry in gridlock


Sheehan also noted that the industry is two-thirds female, many leaving the workforce in 2020, dealing with childcare issues at a time when school closures are most common during the pandemic. Eliminating financial barriers to student loan repayments could take many off the field and back into the workforce, he said.

“We have a lot of MSW (Master of Social Work) and Master of Psychology (Master of Psychology) not on the market right now who might be interested in returning to loan repayment plans,” Sheehan said.

Garrett said the group is seeing fewer applicants despite more job advertisements and higher wages. CNS also added more paid vacation, more flexible hours and increased benefits.

“I don’t have an answer,” Garrett said. “I’m not sure where all the workers went.”

Complicating Michigan’s mental health department is the introduction of new testing requirements for certification for master’s-level psychologists, which has driven at least some people out of the field.

Many master’s-level psychologists—who must work under the supervision of doctoral-level psychologists and are most often present in schools and nonprofits—operate under temporary limited licenses in psychology and can be permanent Update the license. Under the new certification requirements, current TLLP holders must take and pass the Psychology Professional Practice Exam with a score of 450 within 18 months of obtaining their provisional license. PhD-level psychologists must pass with a score of 500 or higher.

Legislators passed the test rule in 2010, but the state did not restrict TLLP renewal limits below 2018.

Before the TLLP expired in September 2020, Rhonda Ravenell worked as a school psychologist with Detroit Public Schools and Wayne County Public Schools. She failed a new certification exam and was forced to quit her job and move to Virginia as a counselor, where her education was an acceptable public school.

“The test went way beyond what I learned in school,” Ravenell told Klein late last year. “I’m frustrated. I love working with children and my supervisors are always impressed with what I do. I’m not interested in being a researcher or a doctor, most of us don’t need that kind of training. Gone my career.”

But Kristin Abraham, director of the master’s program in clinical psychology at the University of Detroit, said the test is in line with most other states, and those who fail the test have plenty of time to adjust to the new requirements.

“Anyone who has had a master’s degree since 2010 should be aware of this,” Abraham said. “It’s no surprise to anyone 11 years later. I don’t think failing the test is a common problem, and the licensing board’s job is to protect patients. I think the test is a perfectly defensible tool for the state to use. ”

It’s unclear if the exams have led to further shortages in the field, but there are still massive shortages.



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