Growing need for mental health care is putting a strain on existing resources

The demand for treatment of anxiety and depression remained high for the third year in a row as did the demand for treatment of trauma- and stress-related and substance use disorders.

According to a new survey by the American Psychological Association (APA), the demand for mental health treatment continues to grow because many psychologists do not have the capacity to add new patients.

“The national mental health crisis continues,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, APA CEO, in a press release. “If you are struggling, know that you are not alone. Psychological science shows that social support is important for developing resilience, so if you are having difficulty accessing timely care, seek support Reach out to others to find and identify ways to cope.

The APA’s 2022 COVID-19 Practitioner Impact Survey assessed how psychological practice has been transformed by the pandemic. The survey collected responses from 2295 doctoral-level, active licensed psychologists in the United States from September 20 through October 7, 2022.

The survey showed that demand for anxiety and depression treatment remained high for the third year in a row as did demand for treatment of trauma and stress-related disorders and substance use disorders. For example, 6 out of 10 physicians said they no longer had opportunities for new patients, nearly 46% said they were unable to keep up with demand for treatment, and nearly 72% had more since the start of the pandemic. There is a longer waiting list than before.

Psychologists reported that they are contacted on a weekly average of more than 15 potential new patients seeking care. The survey also found that almost 8 out of 10 psychologists are seeing an increase in the number of patients with anxiety disorders since the start of the pandemic. In addition, 66% saw an increase in seeking treatment for depression.

About 47% had seen an increase in seeking substance use treatment and 64% had seen an increase in seeking trauma treatment. Two-thirds of psychologists surveyed reported an increase in the severity of symptoms in patients in 2022.

The survey also found a growing demand for mental health services from young people and health care workers. Of all age groups, the largest increase was seen in care-seeking among adolescents aged 13 to 17, with 46% of psychologists reporting an increase in the past 12 months. Many psychologists also saw an increase in patients between the ages of 18 and 25 and children under the age of 13 during the same period.

Nearly half of psychologists have seen an increase in the number of health care workers seeking treatment since the start of the pandemic.

“Timely access to psychological services is critical to meeting the needs of those diagnosed with behavioral health challenges,” Evans said in a press release. “But we need a range of solutions to tackle this problem, beyond personalized medicine. We need to support and expand the workforce, promote integrated behavioral health in primary care, improve mental health literacy, increase access and Technology and innovation need to be harnessed to improve efficiency. But critically, we must expand our paradigm to address behavioral health – particularly if we are to successfully address health disparities To reach people first and at the places where they live, work, play and worship.

The survey also found that 11% of psychologists are seeing all patients individually, an increase from 4% in 2021. Telehealth use is still growing, with more than half of psychologists seeing some patients remotely and some in-person, and 31% seeing all patients via telehealth, down from 47% in 2021.

Due to the increase in demand, 45% of psychologists said they felt tired. However, most psychologists said they have either sought peer counseling or support to manage burnout, have been able to practice self-care, and have been able to maintain a positive work-life balance.

Reference

The growing need for mental health care. Stress potential. American Psychological Association. November 15, 2022. Accessed November 16, 2022. 47%25)%20 said the symptoms%20%20%20%20%20%202022.

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