The US doesn’t have a set number of positions, but we are definitely seeing a similar shortage when it comes to mental health resources.
In England, 9.9% of full-time consultant posts in psychiatry are vacant, almost double the 5.2% which were unfilled in 2013, according to the college’s biennial workforce research report. In all 568 posts are vacant out of what should be a total workforce of 5,730 consultant psychiatrists.
Think about it this way. The NHS has a set number of psychiatrists it is funded to hire. We already know that funding is short of the actual need, we’ve seen that played out in numerous studies and reports. But, it’s even worse, because currently they are 10% short of even that goal, which falls short of the actual need.
Again, looking at the US, we see many areas, especially rural areas, where mental health resources simply don’t exist, and many other areas where only the very wealthy, or very well-insured, can afford care to start with. The shortage of people in these roles is catastrophic for those dealing with a mental health crises unable to get help.
We need something else. The UK is not going to magically find 500+ more psychiatrists, plus funding for all of the resources that are actually needed, and neither is any other country. Alternatives needs to be studied, and those that are successful need to be available.