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'Emerging crisis' in behavioral health prompts growing need to fill frontline jobs

Nurses, therapists among positions available
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Posted at 2:26 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 17:11:19-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — As Florida reopens, the effects of COVID-19 are still taking a toll on the mental health of many. This is resulting in a demand for workers in behavioral health.

Rodney Thorne, a clinical aid at Retreat Behavioral Health, is on the front-line of an emerging crisis.

"With the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m seeing five to six patients per day in the intake process," said Thorne. "My goal is for them to have a clean and sober life after they come through these doors, and hopefully I’m a part of that."

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Retreat Behavioral Health, a provider of mental health and substance abuse treatment, is dealing with a spike in new patients.

"Addiction and mental health disorders did not stop because of a virus, actually it goes the opposite way — it gets magnitude 10-fold," said Peter Schorr, Retreat Behavioral Health president and CEO. “So, the job is more important than it was before."

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There’s more patients seeking treatment for trauma, depression, grief and loss and medical detox for alcohol abuse.

”They’re coming up from as far north as Gainesville, the Tampa area, Orlando. We have patients that come in from the Florida Keys as well,” said Margarita Villagomez, a human resources assistant at Retreat Behavioral Health. “Just recently we have a contract with the Puerto Rico VA, so we will be introducing Puerto Rican patients here to this area, as well.”

In response to more patients, Retreat Behavioral Health needs approximately 50 nurses, therapists, treatment techs and clinical aids at its three locations in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Palm Beach County. Twenty positions are open at its Palm Springs campus alone.

“[We're] doing something to save another person's life,” said Schorr.

Schorr also said as the nation continues to reopen in phases, positions will increase. There’s also a need for bilingual therapists. Click here to apply.