To the Editor: This letter was prompted by reading and reflecting upon the three articles in the October issue that reported on county-level estimates of the need for mental health professionals (1,2,3). I am impressed by the huge amount of effort expended by these authors to make accurate estimates, and their results are indeed extremely interesting.
I have read Psychiatric Services assiduously for the past decade. Every month I am impressed with a specific article about a new and innovative way of helping people with mental illness.
What prompted my letter was the fact that, at this point, with the publication of so many different specific articles, it would be extremely helpful if all of this material could be put together in an action plan that could be used by counties with a shortage of professionals to develop a comprehensive and effective mental health plan. There certainly is a very large amount of material available addressing the various dimensions of mental health care. It would seem most appropriate at this point to begin a process of coalescing this accumulated material so that someone could take "off the shelf" data based on all this material.
Dr. Masland is in private practice in Yuma, Arizona.
1.Konrad TR, Ellis AR, Thomas KC, et al: County-level estimates of need for mental health professionals in the United States. Psychiatric Services 60:1307—1314, 20092.Ellis AR, Konrad TR, Thomas KC, et al: County-level estimates of mental health professional supply in the United States. Psychiatric Services 60:1315—1322, 20093.Thomas KC, Ellis AR, Konrad TR, et al: County-level estimates of mental health professional shortage in the United States. Psychiatric Services 60:1323—1328, 2009