Personal Protective Equipment and the Behavioral Health Workforce

The scarcity of coronavirus personal protective equipment (PPE) has been a concern for health care providers across the United States, and that definitely includes the many people who provide in-person services related to severe mental illness, substance use disorder, and the intellectual and developmental disabilities community.

That’s why MMHPI is working with The Hackett Center for Mental Health, our dedicated regional program for the Texas Gulf Coast, to develop a series of briefings for policymakers highlighting the PPE needs of these dedicated front-line personnel, whose work is crucial to keeping a large number of Texans with intensive needs from being forced into already-overburdened hospitals and institutions.

While an increasing number of services are being provided via telehealth or other telephone-based care, Texans with more serious conditions must still be treated in person. Currently, these services are being delivered with little to no PPE, potentially exposing these workers to illness. Texas needs to prioritize access to PPE for staff at community mental health centers, SUD provider agencies, child welfare contractors, and IDD services providers, just like hospital and first responder personnel.

This can help ensure that patients are protected, and that their vital caregivers do not get sick or resign out of concern for their personal safety. The crucial services they provide must continue to be delivered, safely and uninterrupted, throughout this crisis.

Our full briefing is available on our Policy Updates page and below:

Personal Protective Equipment and the Behavioral Health Workforce (March 2020)