Psychiatrists are on the decline nationwide

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RADFORD (WSLS 10) - Finding a psychiatrist is becoming more difficult in Virginia and the U.S.

According to the American Medical Association, since 1995, the U.S. population growth has outpaced psychiatry growth by 33 percent.

Nearly 60 percent of psychiatrists are 55 years of age or older.

Federal health leaders have designated 4,000 areas across the country as having a shortage of mental health professionals.

Experts blame this largely on the difficult nature of the job and the low pay compared to other medical specialties.

"The mean average of psychiatrists make about $182,000," said Carilion psychiatrist Dr. Anita Kablinger. "That's below what family practice physicians make. It's 30 percent below what surgeons make."

In Virginia, there are less than nine psychiatrists per 100,000 people. The national average is eight per 100,000.