It’s no secret that America’s mental health is in crisis, with more than 7.5% of adult Americans reporting at least one depressive episode per year, according to Time Magazine. The mental health challenges for young adults are even more disparaging, with 17% of those aged 18-25 struggling with a mental health-related issue.
Yet the initiatives and measures put in place to curb America’s mental health crisis are in shambles. The same folks who have been protesting against progressive programs like Critical Race Theory have now switched their attention to mental health, as per an NBC News report, some wondering why certain professional school counselors are paid $90k.
Most experts note that the COVID-19 pandemic is partly responsible for the restricted access to psychotherapy personnel and therefore a big player in the ongoing mental health crisis. It’s imperative that we need a better medical care system to match.
Mental Health Dynamics in America
Recent stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) reveal a bleak outlook on mental health-related problems among school-aged children and adolescents. In its report, seen by the New York Times, mental health-related emergency room visits soared by 24% for children ages 5-11 and 31% for those ages 12-17. The way the Covid-19 pandemic has affected America’s mental health dynamics is both surprising and expected. Incidents concerning drug addiction, anxiety, and depression have gone through the roof, yet the overall rate of suicides has gone down. Some experts argue that the quality of care has improved during the pandemic.
Moreover, multiple psychotherapy services and facilities were able to pivot their accessibility towards specific channels like telemedicine-based services. Data shows that there’s a positive impact of telehealth on mental health care and treatment – delivery systems like telemedicine help realize positive outcomes like a reduction in overall rates of suicides. The dark truth is that mental health-related suicides skyrocketed among African Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, partly because they couldn’t access or afford telehealth services.
Outlook of the US Mental Health Market
There’s a stark contrast facing people seeking help when it comes to accessing mental health treatments and care on the free market. On the one hand, you’ll find social outreach/counseling, psychotropic drugs, and therapy – the traditional mental health care options. The wellness industry and self-care approaches make up the other side of the aisle.
NAMI estimates the overall spending on mental health treatments to be around $225 billion. Meanwhile, depression costs around $44 billion annually in lost productivity in the workplace. Whether you opt for a wellness and self-care approach to mental health or prefer psychotherapy services and drugs, the truth of the matter is that America’s mental health is in the middle of a crisis. There’s the issue of access, while others are struggling to afford whatever care is at their disposal.
In some states like Texas, two-thirds of the counties have no mental health facilities, let alone practitioners. That’s why new practices are opening to fight the growing crisis, like Geode Health in Southlake, Texas, which offers care that the area rightfully deserves.
Affordability versus Availability
Suppose America’s mental health crisis is to be curbed sooner rather than later. In that case, federal agencies, state actors, and other stakeholders need to pay more attention to a duo of crucial factors: availability and affordability. That’s because both will eventually influence patients’ access to proper and reliable mental health care and treatment. Healthcare is a double-sided sword that must be handled with extra care in order to benefit everyone.