How COVID Has Changed The Behavioral Health World
The COVID-19 pandemic turned 2020 upside down — and the behavioral health field wasn’t spared. Practices considered industry-standard a year ago have now been replaced with a new normal as both patients and providers work to adjust.
Thankfully, major strides have been made since the crisis first started, but it took a lot of hard work from everyone involved. Here’s a look at three ways the pandemic impacted the behavioral health field.
More Patients Are Seeking Help
Living through a global pandemic is stressful. Whether people are anxious about catching COVID-19, worried about losing their jobs, or feeling isolated due to social distancing measures, the myriad of concerns weighs heavily on many. For example, a mid-July poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 53% of U.S. adults felt their mental health had been negatively impacted by worry and stress from the coronavirus, compared with 32% in March.
Thankfully, many people have recognized the toll the pandemic has taken on their mental health and have sought help. A federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress —run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — saw a 1,000% traffic increase in April 2020 from the same time the year prior, according to The Washington Post.
Telehealth Has Grown in Prominence
Social distancing has become the theme of the COVID-19 era, as people try to avoid catching the virus. Consequently, a survey conducted by technology platform Kareo revealed that most independent healthcare practices had seen a decline in patient volume since the pandemic started. However, things have been different for many mental health practices, as nearly 50% have not experienced a decline, and more than half of that group has seen an increase in patient volume.
It’s probably not a coincidence that the survey found 97% of mental health practices are now using telehealth for patient visits. Allowing patients to get the help they need from the comfort of their own homes is crucial during the pandemic, and modern technology has made it easier than ever.
Group Therapy Has Shifted
Some behavioral health disorders — such as addiction — are often treated in group settings. However, the COVID-19 crisis has made this type of therapy session unsafe in person. Some organizations have found creative ways to keep the group aspect alive while in physically different places.
For example, many Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are now conducted on Zoom, allowing members to continue sharing and interacting in a safe setting. This certainly changes the feel of group therapy — as members are not together in the flesh — but it can still serve as a helpful way to connect. Many will likely be relieved when in-person meetings can safely happen again, but for now, this is another great behavioral health pivot that’s helping people through the pandemic.
Hiring amid a global pandemic is hard work, so don’t be afraid to seek assistance. To learn more about how we can help you find top behavioral health talent, contact us today at (513) 651-9500 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.