In Fall 2021, more than sixteen hundred (1,602) members of the behavioral health workforce responded to the California Behavioral Health Workforce Assessment (BHWA) survey, and 66 representatives of peer-run organizations participated in small-group listening sessions.
Respondents represented a wide array of behavioral health workforce settings; professional and educational backgrounds; and racial, ethnic, and cultural communities. Many have lived experience: 35.4% have been a family member or caregiver of a person with behavioral health needs, 32.0% have experienced a personal mental health challenge, 11.9% have experienced a substance use disorder (SUD). In response to the current focus on expanding peer support services and developing peer specialist certification in California, the project had a special emphasis on the peer support community.
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