Dr. Zim Okoli on the Need to Expand Psyh Nurses Scope of Practice to Improve Mental Health Care

By Rob Dillard, Dr. Chizimuzo "Zim" Okoli - Last Updated: May 12, 2023

While representatives at the federal level work to advance legislation to expand the nation’s mental health workforce, 24 states restrict the scope and practice of Psychiatric-Mental Health (PMH) nurses, who successfully work in other states to help expand access to care. Unfortunately, these 24 states also do not even come close to meeting the local need for mental healthcare – ranging from meeting merely 12% to 50% of the need for mental health care in the state.

Today, more than 27 million Americans with mental illness go untreated each year. State regulations must change to allow the full range of mental health providers to be accessible to people seeking treatment. The American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) recently released a report discussing this problem and potential solutions to help increase access to mental health care in all states in the nation.

DocWire News spoke with APNA president, Dr. Chizimuzo “Zim” Okoli to discuss the role and importance of PMH nurses, and what can be done to improve access to mental health care in America.

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December 1, 2023