America’s mental health therapists are facing a tidal wave of patients seeking help for anxiety and depression, creating an unprecedented shortage of professionals who can treat the disorders.
According to a survey from the American Psychological Association (APA), 6 in 10 psychologists say they are completely booked, as therapists remain in high demand from the adverse mental health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We had a workforce shortage before the pandemic where we just didn’t have enough therapists to meet the mental health needs of this country,” Vaile Wright, a senior director of health-care innovation at the APA told the Washington Post. “And that’s only gotten worse.”
The APA began doing surveys of therapists throughout the country three years, finding that the shortage has not ameliorated.
The survey found that 51% of psychologists reported seeing an uptick in teens needing help since the beginning of the pandemic, with therapists reporting that, whereas before the pandemic kids would go to therapists “kicking and screaming,” they now tell their parents they want to go to one.
About 7 in 10 schools nationwide reported an increase in students seeking professional mental help since the pandemic. And the rates of people seeking out therapy to treat a substance use disorder have been rising. Alcohol-related deaths hit their highest levels in decades during the pandemic.
“We are now dealing with the aftermath of what happened in those years,” therapist Leah Seeger said. “If your family business closed down because of the pandemic, you might be in a crisis moment dealing with it, but the effects after that are still going to show up in people’s psychological experience weeks, months or years afterwards.”
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)