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[HEAD HEALERS NEEDED] Demand for mental health treatment growing exponentially

As the impact of the pandemic on mental health continues, psychologists are reporting a large increase in demand for treatment of anxiety and depression compared with last year, according to a survey of more than 26,000 doctoral-level psychologists by the American Psychological Association (APA). Many respondents surveyed between August 30 and September 17, 2021 also said they had increased workloads and longer waitlists than before the pandemic.

More than eight in 10 (84%) psychologists who treat anxiety disorders said they have seen an increase in demand for treatment since the start of the pandemic, compared with 74% a year ago. Demand for treatment of depression is also up, with 72% of psychologists who treat depressive disorders saying they have seen an increase, compared with 60% in 2020. Other treatment areas with greater demand included sleep-wake disorders, obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, and substance-related and addictive disorders, according to the survey

The number of psychologists who reported receiving more referrals this year almost doubled from last year (from 37% in 2020 to 62% this year). Almost seven in 10 psychologists (68%) with a waitlist reported that it had grown longer since the start of the pandemic.

“These numbers highlight what we have been saying since the early days of the pandemic – we are facing a mental health tsunami, “said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, APA’s CEO. “We need to continue to support treatment via telehealth, and we must invest in screening, prevention, and innovative interventions to expand access to various levels of care.”

The January/February issue of the Journal on Active Aging will include a feature on mental health needs and solutions for the active-aging community, based on two podcasts by ICAA CEO Colin Milner.

To read the APA survey results, click here


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