National Mental Health Workforce Acceleration Collaborative

Addressing the nation’s mental health workforce shortage.

Over 50 million people in the U.S. — about 1 in 7 — are experiencing a mental illness, yet there is only 1 mental health provider for every 350 individuals in the U.S. This shortage of providers contributes to nearly 55% of adults with mental illness receiving no treatment.

An important component of the workforce shortage is that 57% of people who earn master’s degrees in mental health face financial, time and regulatory barriers to clinical licensure that force them to walk away and never become licensed.

To address the mental health and substance use treatment workforce shortage and to increase the number of diverse licensed clinicians available to serve clients, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, in partnership with Resilient Georgia, Metro State University – Denver, and Colorado Health Institute, launched the National Mental Health Workforce Acceleration Collaborative (NMHWAC) Program through grant funding provided by Kaiser Permanente.

Program Overview

The National Mental Health Workforce Acceleration Collaborative (NMHWAC) aims to increase the number of qualified licensed mental health and substance use treatment clinicians, while increasing diversity in client-facing positions. This program launched in September 2023 in Colorado and Georgia, expanding in May 2024 to include southern California, Hawaii and Washington.

Program Goals

  1. Increase percentage of master’s degree graduates who become licensed in target states.
  2. Increase number of patients served by partially qualified pre- and post-master’s associates.
  3. Increase diversity (i.e., race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, language and cultural background) of fully licensed master’s level mental health professionals in targeted states.
  4. Improve Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) health professional shortage area scores in identified target communities.
Program Candidates:
Unlicensed Clinicians
  • Clinical social worker
  • Marriage and family therapist and other specialties
  • Professional clinical counselor/Professional counselor/Mental health counselor
Program Placement
  • Academic medical institutions
  • Federally qualified health centers
  • Community health care clinics
  • Other nonprofit providers
  • Health care systems (preference to nonprofits)

Job placement, stipends and supervision provided

Virtual supervision and licensure exam prep offered

NMHWAC will support organizations (sites) in employing and retaining staff (candidates) who are on track to clinical licensure. The program will progressively expand through September 2025 using a cohort-based model.

Program Sites

Our Partners

Contact Us

Use the form below to submit your questions about the National Mental Health Workforce Acceleration Collaborative. A member of the National Council team will respond.

This project is 100% funded through an award from Kaiser Permanente.