Creative Solution for the Supply and Demand Crisis for Mental Healthcare in Lancaster County – Lancaster Clinical Supervision Collaborative is making an impact after just 1 year

Lancaster Clinical Supervision Collaborative
Lancaster Clinical Supervision Collaborative

The demand for behavioral healthcare for youth and children in Lancaster County is high. Primary care providers struggle to make referrals for therapy or related mental healthcare. Families struggle to schedule appointments for therapy, and wait times are long. Many must schedule visits 3-4 months in advance for lack of provider availability.

Thanks in part to a grant from The Steinman Foundation, LOHF has completed the first of a 3-year program, Lancaster Clinical Supervision Collaborative (LCSC), to increase the number of mental healthcare providers locally and inspire them to plant their careers in Lancaster County.

Investing in the talent pipeline for behavioral healthcare will result in stronger behavioral healthcare organizations and competent supervisors who can mentor their staff. Trained supervisors can effectively recruit and retain their clinical staff, reducing patient caseloads, improving recruitment and retention, and lowering staff turnover rates.

In July, LOHF completed the inaugural year of this 3-year effort to help 30 master’s level mental health providers (Fellows) earn clinical licenses. The LCSC provided teams of supervisors and fellows from nine agencies with continuing education credits, funding, and building a community of practice. With matching funds from The Steinman Foundation, LOHF is building the talent pipeline in mental health.

Master’s degree graduates in social work and psychology must find 3,000 or more hours of clinical supervision for licensure eligibility. Since mental healthcare professions do not offer the equivalent of a medical residency program, these graduates struggle to pay for supervision out of pocket while working on salaries that make this challenging. Our Lancaster Clinical Supervision Collaborative aims to serve as a mental healthcare residency program, resulting in 30 additional licensed providers in the county. The first of these will receive her license this fall!

In the past year, 17 supervisors and 19 fellows working toward licensure participated. Matthew Harding, LSW, completed his supervision hours and is now studying to take the licensure exam.

Thoughful Wellness, LLC, Ephrata, reported to LOHF that LCSC Fellow Katherine (Kat) Bregman, MSW, “notes that social workers are notoriously underappreciated in society in terms of pay for the amount of work put in, and having the opportunity to earn her LCSW without financial barriers has her excited for the future of her career.” The counseling agency also reported that their two fellows in the LCSC program served 51 new clients and provided 1,643 hours of therapy to the Ephrata community.

The LCSC includes monthly cohort meetings (online due to pandemic) for our teams of supervisors and fellow where, this year, participants discussed telehealth guidelines, inclusion, cultural differences, and with supervisors and fellows presenting their expertise to the group. As the program now launches into its second year, group supervision and study groups will be added.

Participants are enthusiastic. “I’m enjoying and learning a lot from the supervision collaborative!” said Dr. Latinia Shell, owner of Diversity Works. “I can’t thank you enough for allowing me to partake in this amazing opportunity!”