New research published by the American Psychological Association (APA) indicates that in the post-COVID 22 world, the demand for treatment for anxiety, depression, and substance abuse are soaring. The APA’s 2022 COVID-19 Practitioner Impact Survey showed that six out of every ten mental health practitioners state they no longer have the ability to take on new patients, while approximately 46 percent said they had not been able to fulfil their patients’ demands. Moreover, some 72 percent of them have longer waiting lists than they did before the pandemic. On average, therapists reported that their services are being solicited by around 15 more people every week.
A Sharp Rise In Anxiety
The survey showed that almost 80 percent of therapists saw a rise in the rate of anxiety in patients, and 66 percent saw an increase in requests for depression treatment. The vast majority of therapists also noticed that there was an increase in the severity of symptoms in people who already had these conditions. The situation is indicative of a deepening of the mental health crisis. Such is the level of demand that around 45 percent of psychologists report that they feel burnout. The good news is that the majority are seeking support or consultation services from their peers, in an aim to maintain a good work-life balance.
Why Professional Support is Key
Having timely access to mental health support is vital when depression, anxiety, and/or other mental conditions interfere with one’s ability to lead a happy, full life. Various approaches have proven to be successful in reducing symptoms of these conditions, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy—a modified type of CBT that incorporates elements of mindfulness. That is, it stresses the importance of living in the present moment and relying on practical, proactive ways to deal with stress, regulate one’s emotions, and improve social interactions.
Additional Means of Support
In addition to therapy, other measures can help improve the situation of those with mental health issues. Crucial ways to improve mental health in the US include improving employment, including integrated behavioral health in primary care, relying on technology to expand the reach and impact of mental health, and improving mental health literacy. The latter includes the ability to identify specific disorders, know where to seek mental health information, and be aware of risk factors and causes. It also involves being aware of specific biases and stigmas that may exist in some cultures when it comes to seeking mental health. People who are savvy about mental health matters know when it is time to seek help or to put self-help practices into use. Public health strategies must be put into place so that support can reach people sooner rather than later.
The Important Role Played By Telehealth
Currently, more psychologists are seeing patients in-person than in the height of the pandemic and in 2021. However, telehealth services can be offered to those who cannot access treatment. Vulnerable populations in this sense include those living in rural areas and communities of color. The APA is currently fighting for expanded telehealth coverage from insurance companies.
The mental health crisis considers to be a major problem in the US. Psychologists are seeing a bigger demand than in the previous two years, with anxiety, depression, and substance abuse boosting demand. Public health strategies must address this problem and provide help to the most vulnerable groups.