(APNEWS.MYWAY) — NEW YORK (AP) — It is an irony that troubles health care providers and policymakers nationwide: Even as public awareness of mental illness increases, a shortage of psychiatrists worsens.
In vast swaths of America, patients face lengthy drives to reach the nearest psychiatrist, if they can even find one willing to see them. Some states are promoting wider use of long-distance telepsychiatry to fill the gaps in care. In Texas, which faces a severe shortage, lawmakers recently voted to pay the student loans of psychiatrists willing to work in underserved areas. A bill in Congress would forgive student loans for child psychiatrists.
Even with such efforts, problems are likely to persist. A recent survey by the Association of American Medical Colleges found that 59 percent of psychiatrists are 55 or older, the fourth oldest of 41 medical specialties, signaling that many may soon be retiring or reducing their workload.
Advertisement - story continues below