National psychiatrist shortage impacting patients in Central New York

Some agencies report longer wait times for patients needing clinic appointments

SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) - Psychiatrists are in short supply in many parts of the country, including Central New York.

Dr. Robert Gregory with Upstate University Hospital says many of his colleagues have long waiting lists, and are noticing the trend.

"It's concerning if there are not enough medical providers to go around and deal with the mental health issues," says Gregory. "Really, the people going into psychiatry hasn't kept up with demand."

The number of physicians entering the workforce has gone up by 45 percent over the last 20 years, according to the American Medical Association.

Those starting a career in psychiatry has only gone up by 12 percent in that same time frame.

"There's more people seeking services and more recognition of (mental illness) than there used to be in the past," says Gregory. "But there are relatively few psychiatrists to keep up with demand."

Contact Community Services in East Syracuse helps match clients that call in to resources in the community. 

Crisis Intervention Services Director, Cheryl Giarrusso, says many of their crisis callers are dealing with suicide, homelessness or mental issues.

"We often have a shortage around psychiatrists," says Giarrusso. "That can be a problem, the wait time can be a problem, connecting the person who is in immediate need and connecting them with a provider, can be an issue."

CCS provides 24/7 support to those facing crisis through their hotline.

You can reach the Crisis and Suicide Prevention Line at (315)251-0600 in Onondaga County and (877) 400-8740 in Cayuga County.


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