APA Works to Build the Mental Health Workforce for an Aging America

APA, in partnership with the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, the National Association of Social Workers and the American Psychiatric Association, hosted a Sept. 19 briefing on Capitol Hill to highlight key findings and policy recommendations from a recent Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on mental health and aging.

Capitol Hill Briefing:
Mental Health Workforce for Older Adults

The panel of speakers included APA member Michael A. Hoge, PhD, IOM Committee Member from the Yale School of Medicine; Dan G. Blazer, PhD, MD, IOM Committee Chair from Duke University Medical Center; and María P. Aranda, PhD, MSW, IOM Committee Member from the University of Southern California.

APA Recommendations

Hoge presented key findings from the IOM report related to the mental health and substance use workforce for older adults. He also presented several important APA recommendations:

  • Increase federal funding for education and training opportunities in geriatrics for psychologists and trainees (e.g., Title VII, Graduate Psychology Education Program).

  • Ensure the integration of psychologists as members of the integrated health care team across settings (e.g., ACA, Positive Aging Act – S. 525).

  • Increase older adults’ access to mental health care by enacting Medicare and Medicaid policies that appropriately reimburse psychologists for the provision of mental and behavioral health services.

Briefing Presentations

You may download the discipline specific recommendations (PDF, 178KB) given by the three panel speakers. In addition, each panel speaker's individual presentation is available for download: 

IOM Report

The briefing highlighted the recently released IOM report, The Mental Health and Substance Use Workforce for Older Adults: In Whose Hands?, and its systematic analysis of the current and future mental and behavioral health care needs of America’s aging population. In addition to Hoge, two other APA members served on the study committee: psychologist Margarita Alegría, PhD, of the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research and Harvard Medical School, and psychologist Frederic C. Blow, PhD, of the University of Michigan Medical School and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In addition to playing a critical role in securing the funding for the study, APA supported the work of the study committee by providing workforce data and information on psychology’s role in addressing the mental and behavioral health needs of older adults (PDF, 93KB) and the evolution of professional geropsychology. APA will continue to facilitate the dissemination and implementation of the IOM policy recommendations to meet the urgent mental health and substance use needs of America’s diverse aging population.