Are Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners in Demand?

Psychiatric nurse practitioners vs psychiatrists: how mental health nurse practitioners are filling gaps in healthcare.

America faces a broad range of mental health issues from opioid addiction to increasing rates of depression and suicide. One in every five Americans has suffered or will suffer from mental illness, yet the number of psychiatrists in the country is dwindling. Over 75% of U.S. counties have a shortage of mental health prescribers. The demand for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners is increasing because they have the scope of practice needed fill this gap in care.

There are several factors that contribute to the demand for psychiatric nurse practitioners:

  • There is a psychiatrist shortage stemming from an aging profession. According to American Association of Medical Colleges, more than 60% of psychiatrist are over the age of 55.
  • Millions lack access to quality mental health care. The Affordable Care Act reduced cost and enhanced availability for mental health care, which affirmed the existing shortage leaving people struggling to find appropriate resources.
  • Little to no mental health professionals exist in rural areas. In addition to the overall shortage of physicians in rural areas, over 60% of rural Americans reside in designated mental health provider shortage areas.
  • Society destigmatizes mental illnesses. Negative connotations surrounding mental health have historically kept many individuals from seeking treatment. The de-stigmatization of mental illness in mainstream media/society has made the topic more easily addressable and has further increased the demand for individuals to seek qualified mental health professionals, reiterating the obstacles between patients and the treatment they need.

The map below ranks the availability of the mental health workforce in the US. States with the lowest number of shortage areas are in light blue, and the states with the highest number of shortage areas (lowest access to care) are in dark blue.

Why NPs?

Nurse practitioners bring a different perspective by virtue of their training. Mental health patients need a lot of support and interaction and NPs bring unique qualities that can be useful in treating a patient of this sort. Nurse practitioners take a more holistic approach to treating patients, one that is both individualized and hands-on. Patients seeing nurse practitioners tend to have higher levels of satisfaction with their care. Nurse practitioners cost less than psychiatrists but deliver the same level of efficiency, and are more likely to practice in rural areas. Psychiatric nurse practitioners can help satisfy the demand for psychiatrists and contribute to the overall mental health of the country.

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Federal facts for you.

We are a Federal Supply Schedule Contract holder. 

Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) Contract: 36F79723D0086, Professional and Allied Healthcare Staffing, effective March 15, 2023, through March 14, 2028.

NAICS Codes:
  • 561320: Temporary help services. 
  • 621111: Offices of physicians. 
  • 621112: Offices of physicians, mental health specialists. 
  • 621399: Offices of all other miscellaneous health practitioners. 
  • 621330: Offices of mental health practitioners.


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Maggie Youmans

Senior Vice President, Sales

As Senior Vice President, Maggie oversees several key specialty divisions and adjacent teams. With a demonstrated history of leading teams and developing individuals across the organization, she is dedicated to inspiring, challenging and empowering associates to achieve their personal and professional goals. 

Maggie earned degrees in marketing and management focused on consumer economics from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business. She enjoys traveling with her husband to visit different bed and breakfasts. Together, they have been able to see the beauty within their own backyard and across the country.

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Anne Anderson

Executive Vice President

"I'm passionate about the locum tenens industry - we make a real difference in the lives of both our heroic healthcare providers and the patients they treat."

Anne has been at the forefront of the evolution of locum tenens for more than 35 years. She’s a respected leader with expertise in corporate operations, risk management, credentialing, and travel services. Before joining Jackson + Coker, she served as Executive Vice President at Medical Doctor Associates, part of Cross Country Healthcare. 

An ardent industry advocate, Anne served several years on the Board of the National Association of Locum Tenens Organizations (NALTO), including two years as president. 

Anne received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Spring Hill College. She is also a PADI open water diver and enjoys scuba diving. 

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