The COVID-19 pandemic — and the resultant recession — harmed Americans’ mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Social distancing requirements and stay-at-home orders became barriers for individuals suffering from substance abuse disorders or mental illness. People couldn’t attend face to face support group or therapy appointments, and counseling services stalled.
We may be a suicide cleanup company, but offering compassionate care and helpful resources to families affected by suicide is important to us. We want bring to light how the mental health industry learned from COVID-19 and the mental health amenities providers offer to the public, especially during times of crisis.
Significant progress has been made with insurance companies. Therapy options like Telehealth, online counseling, online support groups are supported and various doctors expect support will continue through 2021 at least.
To understand how COVID-19 changed the mental health industry, we’d like to lay down some baseline statistics.
According to research published by Kaiser (KFF.org):
The American Psychological Association (APA) reported that opioid-related overdoses were on the rise throughout COVID-19. The responsibility fell to insurance companies and providers to battle our overall decline in mental and emotional health.
Thanks to social media outlets and virtual meeting options like Skype and Zoom, many healthcare providers adapted to providing “telehealth” appointments for patients. Key players in the industry — even those with a reputation for bureaucracy and red tape, like insurers, Medicare and Social Services — were surprisingly quick to adopt new service methods.
Most therapists continue to offer telehealth appointments throughout 2021.
If you are in search of a therapist, look for therapists in your state. Because we’re towards the end of the U.S. COVID-19 pandemic, states and counties are reopening, which means continued telehealth support, but limited availability. It’s wise to build relationships with counselors that you know you can see nearby.
With the U.S. nearing the end of the pandemic, major U.S. cities are reopening at full capacity. Roughly 73% of vaccinated adults report an improvement in their mental health, according to a study of 1,500 vaccinated adults performed by Walgreens.
But will telehealth continue to be approved by insurance for those that prefer it?
Through 2021, it’s safe to say that most insurance companies will continue to cover most — if not all — telehealth appointments. Whether or not practices will continue to offer telehealth in the long term remains uncertain. Availability is becoming more limited as offices begin to open again.
Online group therapy, however, was never popular during the pandemic, since they are harder for counselors to monitor and maintain them online. For the patients, the experience online loses part of the human connection. And many of the therapeutic benefits of group therapy, like free flowing conversation, become minimal.
Free online support through Reddit and Facebook Groups will continue, though the quality of support may vary as trained counselors may not be present.
Yes! In general, since the Affordable Care Act, most mental health services will continue to be covered by health insurance. There will always be some side costs, like deductibles or prescriptions. But overall, mental health care will continued to be covered.
It’s been a tough time for everyone. You are not alone. There is a way out. Help is only a phone call away. Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 now.
At SuicideCleanup.com, we know the COVID-19 pandemic has brought waves of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and risks of self-harm to our friends and neighbors. We’ve worked with dozens of professionals in the mental health field that continue to fight the mental side of COVID-19 everyday. Take a look at more resources for all kinds of mental health emergencies.
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