The impact of the coronavirus is beyond the physical health of people. The Covid-19 effect was profound on the mental health of the people in its first year. And as the second year of the virus has begun, the need for mental health professionals among Americans has increased greatly. With a large part of the population struggling with insomnia, depression, and anxiety, psychologists are reaching out to more and more cases each day.
The Rise In Demand For Mental Health Professionals After Covid-19
According to psychologist Dr. Mary Alvord, people initially reported anxiety from the uncertainties of the lockdown period. The pandemic left people ignorant of the future, and this resulted in sadness among them, says Alford, who is also the director of a group of clinicians called Alvord, Baker & Associates in Rockville, Maryland.
But as the pandemic continued to worsen, cases of depression become common. Psychologists have more patients visiting them since the spread of the pandemic than they had before. Surveys conducted by the APA suggest that the demand for treatment of anxiety disorders has increased by three-quarters, while cases of depression have increased by 60%. Trauma and sleep-wake and stress-related disorders are also commonly reported.
The availability of telehealth has helped people seeking health support to cross geographical boundaries. Various states have facilitated this process of rendering assistance by increasing the accessibility of the service. The Medicaid and Medicare centers have also extended services through telehealth. They are insisting that once the pandemic is over, as and when declared by the federal, they would continue the services for another six months.
Doctors find a gap between the demand and supply of health care providers. And this gap, which has been existing before the pandemic, is hard to fill with measures such as increasing the workforce or reducing retirement ages. In such circumstances, the availability of telehealth has been a relief. While issues like the availability of professionals and cost of health care still prevail, telehealth services have eased the accessibility of health care services to some extent.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, children, parents, and healthcare workers have been seeking mental health care remotely. And this has contributed to popularising telehealth in the financial market as well. The data from PitchBook, a financial firm, suggest that the market of telehealth may cross $300 billion by 2026. The establishment of virtual health companies such as MDLive and Doctor on Demand point towards the possibility of such a trajectory. These companies have invested more than $1 billion in the virtual health market in 2020 alone.
As the demand for mental health professionals has grown with the pandemic, the significance of their services has also become better established among the people. The stress level of the people has increased greatly with the outbreak of the pandemic. Along with children and adults, frontline health workers are experiencing high levels of stress. And as the spread of the virus continues, the vulnerability to stress and stress-related diseases prevails.
But with mental health professionals becoming more readily accessible both physically and virtually, the stigma attached to mental health has diminished. People are now more comfortable talking about their mental health issues and seeking professional help when needed.
To help people get the desired assistance, doctors and other health care providers are making efforts too. Dr. Mary Alvord has trained more than 10,000 professionals last year on providing mental health assistance ethically and effectively. Though the impact of the Covid-19 is hard to deal with, the goal is to make people realize that they are not alone in this situation.