By Antonia Ehlers
To help strengthen and diversify the mental health care workforce and meet a growing demand for mental health care, Kaiser Permanente Northern California is currently recruiting for its Mental Health Training Program.
The Mental Health Training Program provides comprehensive clinical training in adult and child behavioral health, chemical dependency treatment, and multiple specialty training tracks to more than 250 doctoral- and master’s-level trainees in Kaiser Permanente’s 21 Northern California medical centers.
Trainees are taught clinical skills that follow evidence-based guidelines. They receive supervised training needed to graduate and become licensed clinical psychologists and therapists, which are in high demand throughout the United States.
“Kaiser Permanente is committed to growing the mental health workforce, and programs like this one help us provide the experience and training needed in a supportive environment,” said Jennifer Thom, Ph.D., assistant regional director of Mental Health Training Programs for Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California region. “There is a national shortage of mental health providers. We want to invest in building a pipeline for new mental health professionals while increasing the diversity and representation of the workforce.”
A recent survey by the American Psychological Association found that six in 10 psychologists reported they are unable to accept new patients right now because of the demand for care. It also found that nearly half (46%) said they have been unable to meet the high numbers of patients seeking treatment, and 72% have longer wait lists than before the pandemic.
Kaiser Permanente Northern California Community Health is supporting the Mental Health Training Program as part of an ongoing commitment to expand the mental health workforce.
As part of the program, Kaiser Permanente mental health trainees also work in the community, providing mental health education, mentoring and resources to local schools and community organizations.
Trainees come from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.
Daniel Gabay, Psy.D., is doing his post-doctoral training at the Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center. He supports oncology patients who need mental health support as they go through treatment. Gabay said he hopes to work as a licensed clinical psychologist after he finishes the program in September.
“This program has been beneficial for me,” he said. “You learn how to do goal-oriented interventions and you really get a holistic approach to the patient’s care.”
Helen Chan, Psy.D., has been in the Mental Health Training Program for three years: as a practicum student, then as a predoctoral intern, and now as a post-doctoral trainee. She is wanting to become a licensed clinical psychologist to help those struggling with autism. She has a 14-year-old autistic son.
“I really want to help other families dealing with autism to help them mitigate some of the challenges,” she said.
For more information on the Kaiser Permanente Mental Health Training Program click this link.
This article was submitted for publication by Kaiser Permanente.