Sprint Task Force releases recommendations for youth mental health workforce development in Cuyahoga County

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CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH - The Youth Mental Health Workforce Development Sprint Task Force has released recommendations for ways to attract, retain and better support mental health professionals serving young people in Cuyahoga County.

The recommendations were presented to Mayor Justin M. Bibb and County Executive Chris Ronayne in a roundtable session yesterday afternoon.

Included in the task force report is a landscape analysis of work underway and progress made; recommendations for action, specific to workforce interventions and including potential state and federal funding sources; and an advocacy agenda for presentation to state and federal policymakers that will support the workforce interventions and public policy changes that would result in better access to care.

“We know the need is urgent and we must act with urgency to support our young people and the providers who serve them,” said Mayor Bibb. “Rebuilding and empowering a workforce that has been underpaid and undervalued is a long-term proposition, but we are committed to action and these recommendations are a roadmap to advance this critical priority.”

At a high level, the task force recommended that its work should continue through an ongoing, funded, staffed partnership housed at the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Workforce Development Board (CCWDB) with lines of reporting to both the CCWDB and the ADAMHS Board leadership. Funding will come from the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and the ADAMHS Board.

The set of seven recommendations also includes three workforce development strategies focused on peer support, training, career pathways and career awareness, two interrelated retention strategies focused on resilience and equity and a series of advocacy priorities at both the state and federal levels.

“Cuyahoga County remains committed to providing the best resources and opportunities for our young people,” said County Executive Ronayne. “I am extremely grateful for the work of the Task Force, the collaboration between partner agencies, and the continued dedication to the health and well-being of our youth. This initiative comes at a critical time in our efforts to develop and implement the best strategies to serve both mental health professionals and the individuals they care for.”

The sprint task force is comprised of leaders from the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio Means Jobs and dozens of partners from across education, social services, healthcare and philanthropy.

In January 2023, City leaders convened a number of public and private youth and adult mental health providers, funders and advocates for a conversation on mental health workforce development. The conversation indicated both progress and the need to coordinate and scale further to address critical gaps and barriers. The need was reiterated during an April 2023 visit by U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, which was focused on the nation’s youth mental health crisis. This spurred the creation of the Sprint Task force, which began work in August 2023.

For more information on next steps, please see the at-a-glance recommendations and advocacy priorities as well as the full set of recommendations.