- Associated Press - Saturday, October 4, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - A shortage of mental health professionals is forcing providers in central and southern Indiana to increase wait times and triage the most urgent cases.

Many patients are facing wait times of up to three months as facilities struggle to recruit psychiatrists and nurse practitioners with the ability to prescribe medication.

Scott Branam of IU Health Bloomington tells The Herald-Times (https://bit.ly/1vuDQnG ) the situation is being compounded by an aging psychiatrist population and a decline in the number of medical students pursuing the field. An increase in people with mental health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act and a reduced stigma for those seeking help also are factors.

Branam expects the shortage to continue. Studies have estimated that an additional 150 psychiatrists are needed in Indiana to meet current needs.

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Information from: The Herald Times, https://www.heraldtimesonline.com

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