Geographic Distribution of California Mental Health Professionals in Relation to Sociodemographic Characteristics

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Objective: To determine whether geographic access to licensed mental health providers in California is a barrier for underserved populations. Method: Data from the master file of the California Board of Psychology and Board of Behavioral Sciences were merged with U.S. Census data to determine the correlations between the concentration of providers and the corresponding sociodemographic characteristics of places in California. Results: This article shows that the concentration of licensed mental health providers in the communities of California varies systematically with the racial, ethnic, age, education, and economic characteristics of those places. Specifically, licensed mental health providers are more concentrated in places that are wealthier, Whiter, older, and more educated. Conclusions: Policy and advocacy efforts in health service psychology can help assure more equitable distribution of mental health services.

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