Kaiser Permanente Invests $490,000 to Bolster Georgia’s Mental Health Workforce

Staff Report

Thursday, March 14th, 2024

Kaiser Permanente is investing $490,000 in support focused on increasing the number of diverse licensed clinicians to address Georgia’s mental health workforce shortage. The grant funding will be used to support the work of Resilient Georgia, a statewide coalition of 900 public-private partners and stakeholders tasked with creating an integrated mental health network, with a particular focus on better serving youth and families.

In 2023, Kaiser Permanente, in partnership with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing and Resilient Georgia, launched the Mental Health Workforce (MHW) Accelerator program to address the acute need for mental health professionals in the state. The MHW Accelerator program supports job placement, stipends, and supervision for pre- and post-master’s associates who will work in community provider settings serving vulnerable populations.

“Resilient Georgia strives to create a future where every child and young adult in Georgia will have access to high-quality, integrated behavioral health services and support, empowered by a statewide network of trauma-informed organizations working together to prevent and heal childhood adversity,” said Emily Anne Vall, PhD, Executive Director of Resilient Georgia. “This partnership with Kaiser Permanente is a critical step to developing the workforce of mental and behavioral health professionals that is desperately needed to make that future a reality.”

In Georgia, 152 out of 159 counties are in a federally designated mental health shortage area. Completing the required supervised work hours is one of the key barriers unlicensed mental health professionals face in securing licensure. Georgia ranks 49th in the nation for mental health care access.

“Kaiser Permanente’s partnership with Resilient Georgia is part of our overarching goal to recruit and retain the diverse mental health professionals our state needs to expand access to high-quality behavioral health services to more Georgians,” said Pam Shipley, regional president of Kaiser Permanente Georgia. “Our mental health programs and initiatives focus on encouraging the diverse communities we serve to prioritize their well-being and creating a culture of acceptance and support for mental health.” 

The Mental Health Workforce Accelerator program is part of Kaiser Permanente’s longstanding commitment to support the social needs of communities, with programs providing access not only to housing, food, and healthy living, but to mental health care options as well. The Accelerator program launched in Georgia in 2023, starting with 8 placement sites and 8 clinicians across the state and now is up to 12 placement sites as of January 2024 with 10 candidates. By 2025, post- and pre-masters candidates will be supported at program full scale – 39 post-masters and 32 pre-masters. There are additional cohorts slated for July 2024, January 2025, and July 2025. 

Visit georgia.kaiserpermanente.org/community/ to learn more about Kaiser Permanente’s work in the community.