Email signup

Fairfax County behavioral health vacancies double amid pandemic

The Merrifield Center provides behavioral health services, responding to emergencies and administering other social services (via Google Maps)

Job vacancies at the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, which provides mental health, substance use and developmental disability services, have more than doubled since January 2021.

The CSB reported last week that the 193 vacancies have led it to consolidate two programs in recent months: a partial hospitalization program and New Generations, a treatment program for mothers and pregnant women. In January 2021, there were 91 vacancies.

“We do have some challenges in getting people into services as quickly as we would like to,” CSB Deputy Director of Clinical Operations Lyn Tomlinson said.

The vacancies come as the COVID-19 pandemic has increased needs for mental health patients, but several factors are involved, including a “nationwide shortage of behavioral health care professionals,” according to Daryl Washington, the executive director of the Fairfax-Falls Church CSB.

Like in other professions, the worker shortage has been driven by burnout from the pandemic and compensation, among other factors, a National Council for Mental Wellbeing survey found last fall.

The number of graduates is also not keeping up with those retiring.

A January 2022 report by the Virginia Health Care Foundation found that, even though the state has 40 graduate-level behavioral health programs that produce nearly 800 graduates annually, not enough of them become licensed “to maintain even the current inadequate supply” of professionals.

“The workforce shortages that existed in the Commonwealth and in each of the five licensed [behavioral health] professionals before the pandemic have been exacerbated exponentially,” the report said.

Washington said it may take years to resolve and affect the region for the next decade.

The Fairfax-Falls Church CSB currently employs around 1,100 merit staff and a few hundred more part-time staff. Needs include case managers, a position that requires an undergrad degree in a human services field, and social workers, who must have a master’s degree and supervised experience.

County Executive Bryan Hill has proposed a 4% raise for workers across the board in the Fairfax County’s upcoming budget, plus additional increases, after pay froze during the pandemic. The Board of Supervisors is slated to adopt the budget May 10.

The proposed budget adds four CSB positions for the county’s Diversion First efforts, 4.5 positions for its residential treatment and detoxification services, and one position for emergency services, Washington said.

The budget also allocates money to fund a coresponder program involving 17 CSB positions and money for police positions.

Washington said he’s already spoken to staff who feel the increases were enough to encourage them to stay. He’s optimistic that the proposed salary changes will help with retention and recruitment.

“I really think that that’s going to make us much more competitive in the job market,” he said. “Salaries have really accelerated during the time of the pandemic, like I’ve not seen in my 25-year career before.”

Photo via Google Maps

Recent Stories

Live Fairfax: Fava Pot

Searching for local cuisine offering passion on the plate? Live Fairfax explores Fava Pot and the savory delights it offers!

The plan for a major residential neighborhood near the Innovation Center Metro station in the Herndon area is evolving. But the tweak won’t be approved by the Fairfax County Planning…

To further its environmental goals, Fairfax County’s to-do list should include building an electric vehicle charging network, addressing “critical” staff shortages, and addressing development pressure, the Environmental Quality Advisory Council…

Three Fairfax County Public Schools teachers will now be able to pursue unique arts projects with their students, thanks to financial assistance from the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing…

Dreaming of small-town charm with big-city convenience? Look no further than 7156 Main St in Clifton, Virginia! Nestled just 30 miles from the heart of Washington D.C., this picturesque property offers the best of both worlds.

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city to find tranquility in this quaint, historic town. With its tree-lined streets and friendly community atmosphere, Clifton is the perfect place to call home. Yet, with its close proximity to the nation’s capital, you’ll never be far from the excitement and opportunities of urban living.

Imagine weekends exploring local shops, dining at charming cafes, and enjoying outdoor adventures in nearby parks. Then, commute to D.C. for work or play, soaking in all the culture, entertainment, and career opportunities the city has to offer.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Great Clips at South Lakes Village Center (Reston, Virginia) is seeking hair donors to participate in the Wigs for Kids program this Valentines Week. If you meet the minimum requirements and would like to donate your hair for children fighting cancer, we would love to host you in our salon this Valentine’s Week for a free haircut.

Minimum Requirements

  • Hair donations must be a minimum of 12 inches

  • Hair donations must be clean and stored/packaged completely dry.

  • Hair donations cannot be permed, color-treated, or highlighted.

  • Temporary coloring or highlights that wash out are acceptable but must be completely washed out before cutting. Gray hair is accepted.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

The Van Metre 5K Run

Participate in the 32nd Annual Van Metre 5K Run, a race that goes further than 3.1 miles, and every stride you take supports Children’s National Hospital. The Van Metre 5K Run donates 100% of proceeds to Children’s National Hospital and

Active Bystander: Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) Training

The Tactical Emergency Casualty Care (TECC) Active Bystander Certification course, also known as Active Bystander, is the premier training program to prepare civilians for how to respond during an intentional violent event and to address life-threatening emergencies.

Similar to FEMA’s

×

Subscribe to our mailing list