Kaiser Permanente mental health clinicians end 5-day strike

Mental health clinicians of Kaiser Permanente ended their 5-day strike on December 15, according to the National Union of Healthcare Workers that represents them.

Over the five days, thousands of social workers, therapists, psychologist and other caregivers protested at Kaiser Permanente clinics and medical facilities across California to call attention to what they say is understaffing that leads to long wait times for therapy appointments.

Brittany Rushin, a marriage and family therapist mentioned in a news release that the strike has sent a clear message to Kaiser that they will sacrifice for their patients and stand united to ensure that they get timely care. Listening to patients talk about their struggles to access mental healthcare has strengthened their resolve to make Kaiser finally fix this problem.

John Nelson, vice president of communications at Kaiser Permanente, called the strike poorly timed and unnecessary, as it was arranged during holiday season when many of the patients with mental health needs were seeking care.

He said that it put the patients in the middle of the union’s contract demands, which is disheartening because, the demands of union at the bargaining table have not been related to improving care and access.

Behavioral health engagement solutions are instrumental in treating mental illness.