Health Professional

Lack of mental health professionals causes dearth of care for patients

What one mental health professional called a “public health crisis” means people needing help can often wait weeks because of the shortage of professionals in Arkansas.

Quinyatta Mumford, section chief of the office of rural health and primary care for the Arkansas Department of Health, estimates the state needs about 67 more psychiatrists to cover patients. 

“Getting practitioners to practice in rural areas can sometimes be a challenge,” Mumford said. 

Mumford recommended that the state increase the number of incentives to encourage people to work in rural parts of Arkansas. Those incentives could include grants or loan-repayment programs. 

“The shortage that we have right now could be considered a major public health crisis,”  said Buster Lackey, the executive director of the Arkansas division of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.