Nebraska Legislature takes a closer look at behavioral health workforce challenges

LR592 Testifiers with Sen. McGill

On October 24, BHECN and some of our partners updated the Health and Human Services committee of the Legislature on some of our key behavioral health workforce development initiatives.  The hearing was for Legislative Resolution 592 introduced by Senator Amanda McGill.

Senator McGill introduced Legislative Resolution 592 to study the current state of the mental health workforce in Nebraska.  Her behavioral health advocacy began when she created and chaired the “Children in Crisis” Task Force following the Safe Haven crisis in 2008. She says that there has been a lot of progress since the Safe Haven, but there is still a long way to go.  “Business as usual is not going to work.  Our professionals must be the best.  They need the best education, the best training and we need to take care of them.  I know that they are overworked and often can’t do the kind of work that they would like to do,” McGill said.

The 2008 task force proposed several strategies to address the problems that led to Safe Haven.  In an effort to address the mental health workforce shortage, the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska was formed.  Senator McGill said, “I am proud of what BHECN has accomplished in the few short years since it was formed.  They are recruiting people to work in the mental health field and they are getting them to stay in Nebraska.  The education and training they provide helps us to create a competent and well informed workforce.” 

Testifiers at the hearing included:

For more information on any of the testifiers programs and projects, see BHECN’s LR 592 Report.

“As I finish up my career with our legislature, I am left with a feeling that I could have done more if I only had more time,” Senator McGill concluded. “It gives me great peace to know that there are so many members of our community, like those that testified today, who remain committed to the health and well-being of all Nebraskans.”