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For decades, behavioral health has been too often an afterthought. This has left millions of our neighbors struggling to get the care they need for drug and opioid abuse, mental health, PTSD and more. All while studies and evidence continues to build that directly links behavioral health and physical health. The tide seems to be turning, however, as policymakers and providers alike recognize the need to not only allocate more resources to behavioral health, but also redesign care models to treat the whole patient.

Behavioral health providers themselves are the foundation to any solution. But current conditions too often only compound the problems our communities face. Frequent burnout leads to inconsistent care, wasted resources and poor results. The quality of the care delivered and the ability of providers to maintain an appropriate caseload are also important factors. Workplace safety and the high cost of education to quality for low-paying jobs contribute to a system where the providers find more reasons to leave than reasons to stay. Behavioral health providers are passionate in their commitment to delivering the quality care that led them to this career path. This is why they must be empowered by having a strong voice on the job and within the behavioral health system.

Together, we are a movement. Our movement shows people experiencing behavioral health issues that they are not alone and there is hope. Our movement shows that when behavioral health workers can advocate for improvements to their jobs and working conditions, those they serve benefit. And our movement shows that, in an industry experiencing rapid change, behavioral health providers must stand up and speak out to effect the change we need.

Our Goals

A strong and equitable community behavioral health system can empower people to recover, heal and thrive. Studies have estimated that nationally 57% of mental health workers and an astonishing 71% of family social workers showed high burnout levels and the resulting staff turnover for clients forces clients to start over in treatment each time they are assigned a new clinician. [source: Social Work in Health Care, Volume 28, 1998] As a result, clients frequently become less willing to engage in treatment the more providers they interact with.

Addressing America's mental and behavioral health crisis means supporting the behavioral health workers who are critical to the health and well-being of our communities. But with growing caseloads, stagnant pay and poor outcomes for our clients, one thing is clear: the behavioral health industry isn’t going to change unless care providers stand up and fight for better care.

We aspire to a system that puts healing first as we work towards concrete solutions that will allow behavioral health professionals to deliver the quality care that clients and their families deserve.

  • Reasonable caseloads and staffing ratios that allow us to do our best work.
  • Meaningful development of our skills so we can provide better care.
  • Adequate wages and benefits that reflect our skill, dedication and the importance of our jobs.
  • Transparency and accountability to ensure behavioral health agencies are putting client health first.
  • A strong and protected voice on the job.

The Union Difference

We’re coming together as a movement to form a union so we can change our working conditions and provide the best possible care for our clients.

Fair wages and benefits:
Union members are more likely to have higher wages, paid sick days, affordable health insurance and retirement benefits. For most union members, their union job means they can afford stable housing and provide for their kids.

A stronger workforce:
Union membership is associated with higher productivity, lower employee turnover, improved workplace communication and a better-trained workforce.

Equity and empowerment:
Unions have made a difference in helping to close the wage gap over the last 40 years. By giving workers a united voice, women and people of color who are union members make higher wages and have more job security than their nonunion counterparts.