Growing need for mental health professionals in Lubbock

Local News

There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the need for better mental health care, especially after recent mass shooting incidents in Odessa and El Paso. 

With a shortage of mental health professionals in Lubbock, it puts a lot of stress on the people who work in these professions locally. 

Bobby Carter, director of crisis services at Starcare, said the level of acceptance for people seeking treatment has increased over the past few years. He said there’s a major increase in awareness. Also, people are taking more notice and paying closer attention to people’s needs.

“The stigma is starting to get broken down a little bit,” Carter said. 

He thinks people are becoming more willing to talk about mental health. Because of this, he said the need for mental health professionals is growing.

“There’s people that flew under the radar and were significantly mentally ill and now we’re starting to pay attention more,” Carter said. 

However, competition from other big cities makes it difficult for these professionals to stay in Lubbock. 

In a report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Lubbock has one mental health provider per 700 residents, compared to the national average of one per 300. 

“We’re shorthanded, in regards to our nursing staff, we hear that other agencies that provide psychiatric services they’re shorthanded as well,” Carter said. “I think it has a lot to do with the fact that we compete with the Dallas area.”

Chad Wheeler with Open Door said the need for mental health professionals also impacts the homeless population. There’s a growing number of the homeless population seeking treatment for mental health issues. 

The Starcare Crisis Line is: (806) 740-1414.

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