Scientific Reports recently published an article outlining the need to prioritize behavioral health concerns as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the article quotes the Tulane University School of Social Work in New Orleans who says:
“The continued direct and indirect effects of the pandemic alludes to the pandemic hindering improvements in people’s health and overall well-being, [...] This study supports the urgent need for enhanced behavioral health service capacity moving into the recovery phase of the pandemic.”
Tulane arrived at this conclusion based on findings from a survey of US residents during the early months of the pandemic, and then compared them to recent responses.
This is what Tulane concluded:
- 33% of respondents reported mental health concerns, compared with 25% before the pandemic.
- Anxiety increased 37% (from 16% in 2019 to 53% in 2020),
- Depression increased 9% (from 19% to 28%), and
- Alcohol abuse increased 8% (from 6% to 14%).
The respondents who reported mental health concerns cite working from home, income loss, and children and teens being out of school as being the sources of their negative experiences. Those reporting social isolation and effects on personal health had higher levels of anxiety and depression as well as lower quality of life. The results were worse for respondents with suspected or diagnosed COVID-19. Contracting the virus resulted in higher alcohol use and an even lower quality of life.
Patrick Bordnick, PhD, MPH, MSW, one of the study's authors, and Dean of the School of Social Work, said, “We are seeing issues now and will see more behavioral health issues for years to come,” and, “increased rates of relapse and new cases are growing each day.”
Lead author Tonya Hansel, PhD, LMSW, added: “In disaster mental health, [...] when the threat has dissipated and individuals move out of survival mode, behavioral health problems become more apparent, and consequently services, such as psychoeducation, therapy, and brief treatments, are needed.”
Mental health funding was insufficient even before the pandemic, which included a significant shortage of mental health professionals. With MyOutcomes, your practice or organization can maximize efficiencies, improve the results of your professionals, and make effective use of telehealth. Doing so can help bridge the gap between what your psychotherapists/counselors can provide and the overwhelming need for more effective services and treatments.