Despite growth in Nebraska’s behavioral health workforce, a new study has found that the state still has a shortage of professionals in the field.
Findings in the legislative report from the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska, which is housed at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, showed a 33.5% increase in the behavioral health workforce across the state.
The study, which ran from 2010 to 2020, also showed a 32% increase in prescribers and a 39% increase in psychologists and mental health therapists.
Despite the overall growth, the report showed a shortage of behavioral health professionals across much of the state as well as an aging workforce.
Other highlights from the report include:
88 of Nebraska’s 93 counties met federal criteria marking them as having a shortage of mental health professionals.
29 counties lack any kind of behavioral health provider.
More than half of the behavioral health workforce is older than 50.
News that the workforce has grown is promising, said Marley Doyle, director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska.
One in five Nebraskans has a mental health diagnosis or substance abuse disorder, Doyle said. Those numbers have increased because of the pandemic.
Last year, she added, overdose deaths in the state rose by 43%. And teachers have reported seeing many young people struggling with their mental health.
“So we know that there is a great need for behavioral health services. We also know that there are not enough behavioral health providers to meet this need,” Doyle said.
The Behavioral Health Education Center has several partnerships with graduate behavioral health training programs across the state and is working on improving access to behavioral health care.
The full report can be found at
Our best Omaha staff photos & videos of December 2021
Schuyler's Maddy Pineda competes against Amherst's Michaela Bivainis in the 114 weight class during the Winnebago All Girls Wrestling Invite at Winnebago High School in Winnebago on Tuesday, December 28, 2021.
A drone image of hundreds of vehicles lined up for drive-thru COVID-19 testing Monday outside Oak View Mall in Omaha. Despite the increased testing, the state’s health care systems continue to get a slight reprieve from COVID cases.
Cousins Mohammad Idrees, 14, and Mohammad Wali, 12, walk home from the bus stop after their day at Davis Middle School near 132nd and State Streets. The cousins and their uncle fled from Afghanistan and live in Omaha, but the boys’ parents are still in Afghanistan indefinitely.
Nebraska players celebrate after defeating Pittsburgh in their national semifinal game at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday.
Nebraska players celebrate after they defeated Pittsburgh in their national semifinal game at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday.
Insulation from a neighbor's roof that was ripped off is stuck in a tree in Matt Thiele's yard after a high wind warning storm hit Beaver Lake. Photographed on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021.
Creighton's Ryan Hawkins and Villanova's Caleb Daniels fight for a loose ball on Friday.
Rebecca Patrick of Bellevue gets a gnome tattoo from artist Josh Cunningham at Collective Skin Tattoo Parlor on Saturday. This was the first year the shop offered holiday-themed tattoos, along with events on Halloween and Friday the 13th.
Nebraska's Kennedi Orr (left) and Anni Evans celebrate during the national championship match against Wisconsin on Saturday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Nebraska players huddle up before their game against Indiana State at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday.
The sunrise is reflected i the window of the The Grove Juicery, located at 2401 Farnam Street on Friday
A Nebraska State Patrol officer blocks Highway 92 just west of Yutan, Nebraska after a report of downed power lines after a storm on Wednesday.
Nebraska's Nicklin Hames dives for the ball during the national championship match against Wisconsin on Saturday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Damaged buildings can be seen on the south side of Neola, Iowa, on Thursday. Preliminary assessments of damage reveal that tornadoes of EF2 intensity struck Neola and McClelland, Iowa, and Beaver Lake in Nebraska on Wednesday.
This year’s All-Nebraska first team got to see this Chinook helicopter up close, then they got to see what it could do in the air. See behind the scenes video of the photoshoot on
Jeremiah Huff plays tennis with Kyle Schmit (not pictured) at the tennis courts at Bemis Park in shorts as the high temperature was close to 50 degrees in December.
Nebraska's Lauren Stivrins celebrates a point during the national championship match against Wisconsin on Saturday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Firefighters spray water on Mulholland Grocery in Malvern, Iowa, on Tuesday morning after a fire destroyed the building Monday night.
Creighton's Ryan Hawkins celebrates two points in between Villanova's Brandon Slater, left and Jermaine Samuels, right, during the second half on Friday.
Christmas lights are reflected in a window as the first snow of the season falls over Lafayette Avenue near 33rd Street in Omaha on Friday, December 10, 2021.
Brothers Seth, 4, and Titus Wissink, 3, of Millard, watch the light show outside Marc and Deb Hansen's La Vista home, which is in its final holiday season. "I will miss the kids coming to see it and enjoy it," Marc Hansen said.
Workers tend to a glass skylight on the Burlington Capital building in downtown Omaha on Thursday. Their job was made easier by a high temperature of 68 degrees in the city, a record high for Dec. 2 and some 25 degrees above normal conditions for this time of year. Temperatures for Friday are expected to reach the mid-50s. Story in Midlands, Page B3
Wisconsin players celebrate a point during their national semifinal game against Louisville at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday.
Nebraska's Keisei Tominaga celebrates his 3-pointer during their game against Michigan at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Wednesday.
From left: Omaha Skutt Abby Schomers, Lincoln Southwest Shaylee Myers, Papillion-La Vista South's Ava LeGrand and Gretna's Skylar McCune pose for a selfie with a sea lion the Owen Sea Lion Shores exhibit at the Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium on Wednesday.
From left: Gretna's Skylar McCune, Omaha Skutt Abby Schomers, Lincoln Southwest Shaylee Myers, Papillion-La Vista South's Ava LeGrand, Waverly's Bekka Allick, Elkhorn South' Kylie Weeks and Omaha Westside's Destiny Ndam-Simpson pose for a portrait inside the Owen Sea Lion Shores exhibit at the Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium on Wednesday. They are the 2021 All-Nebraska volleyball team. Behind them, a sea lion named Chino is investigating a volleyball.
Nebraska's Nicklin Hames (1) spins while trying to hit the ball in the Florida State vs. Nebraska NCAA Division I tournament second round volleyball match in Lincoln on Saturday.
Creighton's Jaela Zimmerman (7) talks with her team while injured as they come together following their loss of the Kansas vs. Creighton NCAA Division I tournament second round volleyball match in Omaha on Friday. Kansas won in four sets.
Nebraska's Alonzo Verge Jr. during the second half of their game at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Wednesday.
Wisconsin's Jade Demps celebrates a point during their national semifinal game against Louisville at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday.
Omaha Lancers' Cam Mitchell skates agains the Tri-City Storm on Friday.
Nebraska's Bryce McGowens waits for his name to be announced before their game against Michigan at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Wednesday.
The Omaha Lancers skate out during player introductions before taking on the Tri-City Storm on Friday.
Nebraska's Alonzo Verge Jr. (1) tries to get past Michigan's Frankie Collins (10) and Kobe Bufkin to score during the second half of their game at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Wednesday.
Nebraska's Eduardo Andre expresses frustration during their game against Michigan at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Wednesday.
Omaha Lancers' Jared Wright scores a second period goal on Tri-City Storm goalie Chase Clark on Friday.