Some numbers from an Anthem survey show that while many of us were talking about mental health more in 2020, there was not any corresponding increase in the availability of treatment.
The report suggested the drop in diagnoses was likely because of some side effects of the pandemic. Children weren’t in schools and therefore were experiencing fewer face-to-face interactions with teachers and other adults who may have identified potential mental health concerns. The drop in older adults’ diagnoses could be attributed to trouble adapting to virtual health services.
Another recent report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found more of the same – that although evidence suggests mental health conditions have increased amid the pandemic, access to care decreased.
How sad would it be that we make such a huge dent in the stigma related to talking about our mental health, at least for now, only to leave so many people who want and need help, to not be able to get any when they ask for it?
This is where we are, and it’s not a good look. As I’ve said myself many times, thousands of new therapists are not coming through the door in the next few months, and they certainly aren’t coming into some of the rural areas that have almost no resources at all. So what do we do? How do we develop new tools, new ideas, and new ways of helping when so many are in need of help? There’s no one easy answer, but if we aren’t asking the tough questions, and working on finding the solutions, we will not have learned any lessons from this past year, and that would be a shame.