Virginia Beach offering $1K hiring incentive to mental health professionals

hospital mental health
Posted at 11:45 PM, Feb 12, 2022

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The need to hire mental health professionals is more prevalent than ever -- with the industry being understaffed.

The city of Virginia Beach is offering an incentive to those who apply and are hired for these jobs.

"It’s been incredibly frustrating and gratifying," Kurt Hooks , the CEO of Virginia Beach psychiatric center tells News 3's Leondra Head.

For many mental health professionals, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a long ride.

"The burnout has been real and it's understandable why people might be looking to other sectors of the economy to seek out jobs," Hooks said.

The CEO of Virginia Beach psychiatric center says burnout has contributed to the mental health industry being understaffed.

"We need staff. We need nurses primarily. We have about 260 employees. We probably need about another 20 more," Hooks said.

Now the city of Virginia Beach is offering a bonus to mental health professionals who apply -- and are hired.

"There is a $1,000 hiring incentive," Michael Woodhead, a consultant with the Hampton Roads workforce council said.

The Hampton roads workforce council is administering the program.

"The city made available $200,000 in hiring and retention bonuses," Woodhead said.

Who qualifies for this funding?

"Anyone who qualifies as mental health or behavioral service provider qualifies for this program as long as they are doing business in the city of Virginia Beach," Woodhead said.

People interested can click here to learn more.

"The bottom line is the industry has found itself hit pretty hard through the industry of COVID. There is a spike in demand for mental and behavioral health services here in Virginia Beach," Woodhead said.

Any business that provides mental health services in Virginia Beach is eligible for this funding.