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What is the Playbook Project?

Timeframe: March 2023 – April 2024
Sponsor: Lilly Endowment Inc.

The Bowen Center is spearheading a collaborative project which is focused on understanding Indiana’s post-secondary pipeline to practice for mental and behavioral health workers and identifying opportunities to strengthen the workforce.  A press release announcing the Playbook Project can be found here. We are delighted to coordinate the Playbook Project through generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Why do we need a Playbook?

Untreated mental illness is threatening the vitality of Indiana’s citizens and communities. The most recent estimates suggest more than 345,000 Hoosiers suffer with untreated mental illness and more than 54% of Hoosier youth with depression did not receive treatment. Our children are impacted, the burden is staggering, and the consequences are far-reaching, including homelessness, unemployment, poverty, incarceration, and unrealized potential.  There is no silver bullet to solving the challenges Indiana faces with regards to untreated mental illness, but opportunities exist. Access to treatment hinges upon a workforce of mental and behavioural health professionals available and willing to serve those in need, when they need care, right in their communities.


Call to Collaboration

The Playbook Project is a significant undertaking and No one organization in Indiana is equipped to develop the Playbook alone. Broad perspectives will be needed to ensure success. If you want to be involved in this project, please click the button below and share your information with us. 

What will the Playbook Project include?

Engagement of subject matter experts and advocates

Engagement of subject matter experts and advocates will occur throughout the course of the project to ensure diverse representation/perspective. Stakeholders will contribute to the development of consensus strategies, and some will serve as champions for implementation.

Landscape Analysis

A landscape analysis of the mental and behavioral health post-secondary training pipeline to practice for the purpose of understanding historical trends and current state and to identify where opportunities exist. The landscape analysis will include:

  • the development of an Indiana post-secondary training program inventory; 
  • historical assessment of the number of student and graduates from post-secondary training programs in Indiana; 
  • identification of factors influencing the post-secondary training pipeline and entry to practice (through licensure) from a variety of perspectives;  
  • a 50-state review of related occupational policies and regulations, including a comparison of Indiana policies to other states; and,  
  • a county-level assessment of the mental and behavioral health workforce and related environment. 

The Plays!

Potential “plays” (or strategies) will be collected throughout the project, including existing workforce initiatives that may scalable, recommendations from advisors and stakeholders and promising practices identified as part of the landscape analysis research.

Recognizing that early exposure to mental and behavioral health occupations is foundational to the overall pipeline, this project will work in concert with initiatives focused on the K-12 pipeline.  


Project Updates

  • Inventory: Create an accessible inventory and state map of Indiana training programs which prepare individuals for mental and behavioral health professions included in this project 
  • Historical Trends: Prepare information on historical trends in program enrollment/headcount and degrees awarded 
What’s Been Done
  • Researched CIP Codes associated with degree programs potentially aligning with licensure requirements. 
  • Collaborated with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education to obtain program level information (degree program name, campus, institution, address, program status, program approval and end date, credit range, FTE, headcount/enrollment, and degrees awarded). 
  • Collaborated with PLA to review degree programs in order to determine final inclusion in inventory and to enable mapping to license, as appropriate. 
  • Developed beta versions of inventory, interactive state map, and trends figures for feedback from Advisors and stakeholders  
Next Steps
  • Finalize inventory and interactive state map in Tableau  
  • Finalize trend information and figures 
  • Feedback on Inventory and state map mock-up
  • Insight on trends information that would be most helpful
  • Understand factors influencing the mental and behavioral health pipeline from the perspective of training program directors, current students and currently licensed professionals 
What’s Been Done
  • Collaborated with CHE to collect training program director contact information 
  • Discussed with PLA feasibility of administering anonymous survey to practicing professionals
  • Developed survey for current professionals, current students and training program directors  
Next Steps
  • Host convening of training program directors  
  • Administer surveys to current professionals and current students  
  • Collect and analyze all survey data for trends 
  • Provide feedback on helpful information and insights that training program directors, current students and currently licensed professionals may provide 
  • Describe various policies influencing the mental and behavioral health training pipeline to practice and identify potential policy innovations from other states 
What’s Been Done
  • Reviewed and synthesized relevant Indiana Code and Indiana Administrative Code 
  • Reviewed and compiled relevant secondary sources of policy information for all 50 states  
  • Identified potential strategies for Indiana based on initial code and policy review
Next Steps
  • Identify potential innovations from other states 
  • Provide direction on any policy innovations or specific areas of interest for further research 
  • Rank counties in Indiana based on need and capacity of mental and behavioral health workers
What’s Been Done
  • Researched national benchmarks for assessing workforce capacity 
  • Finalized population parameters 
  • Collected population parameter data  
  • Finalized workforce parameters
Next Steps
  • Collect workforce parameters 
  • Gather input and approval on parameters  
  • Begin county-ranking needs assessment with collected data
  • Identify any important parameters that should be included
  • Create a living inventory of existing initiatives focused on Indiana’s mental and behavioral health workforce
What’s Been Done
  • Created form for information collection 
  • Finalized table ninja and posted on project page 
Next Steps
  • Collect information on existing initiatives throughout project period
  • Provide information for existing initiatives at the link on the Existing Initiatives tab at the top
  • A Playbook with consensus strategies for enhancing the workforce
What’s Been Done
  • Convened advisors
  • Began landscape analysis
Next Steps
  • Continue working collaboratively to identify possible solutions based on information garnered in landscape analysis
  • Let us know about any ongoing initiatives you are aware of and continue to stay engaged!

What professions are included?

Mental Health Counselors
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor ​
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor Associate

Marriage and Family Therapists
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist 
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate 
Social Workers
  • Licensed Bachelor of Social Work
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker 
  • Licensed Social Worker 
Addiction Counselors
  • Licensed Addiction Counselor 
  • Licensed Addiction Counselor Associate 
  • Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor 
  • Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor Associate 
Psychiatric Advanced Practice Registered Nurses

Although other health care providers – such as primary-care physicians and nurse practitioners – have a role in supporting the mental and behavioral health of Hoosiers, the shortage of professionals whose practice focuses only on mental and behavioral health services will be the focus of this project.