A new national study published in Psychiatric services finds that more than a quarter of U.S. adults with symptoms of depression or anxiety reported that they needed mental health counseling, but were unable to access it during the COVID-19 pandemic. The researchers analyzed data from about 70,000 adults surveyed in the December 2020 U.S. Census Dust Survey.
“Social isolation, COVID-related anxiety, interruptions in normal routines, job loss and food insecurity have led to an increase in mental illness during the pandemic, ”said lead author Jason Nagata, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco.
Nearly 40% of the adults in the study reported symptoms of depression or anxiety during the pandemic. Overall, 12.8% of adults reported an unmet need for mental health counseling, including 25.2% of those who reported symptoms of depression or anxiety. Women were almost twice as likely to report an unmet need for mental health counseling as men. Young adults were also more likely to report an unmet need for mental health counseling than older adults.
“Women have disproportionately assumed the burden of caring for children and caring for older adults during the pandemic,” Nagata said. “Young adults have felt socially isolated and have experienced high rates of job loss.”
“Medical professionals, social workers and clinicians need to take proactive action to detect symptoms of anxiety and depression and help clients access it. mental health care“said co-author Kyle T. Ganson, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Factor-Inwentash School of Social Work at the University of Toronto.” Telepychiatry and telemental health services can improve access for people with unmet mental health needs. “
“Patients have experienced several waiting lists for months during counseling or therapy during the pandemic,” Nagata said. “Policy makers should include more funding for mental health services as part of pandemic relief legislation and expand the use of telehealth to address the widespread unmet mental health needs of the north -americans “.
Jason M. Nagata et al, Prevalence and sociodemographic correlations of the unmet need for adult mental health counseling during the COVID-19 pandemic, Psychiatric services (2021). DOI: 10.1176 / appi.ps.202100111
University of Toronto
Citation: One in four adults with depression or anxiety did not have mental health support during the pandemic (2021, July 6), recovered on July 6, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07- adults-depression-anxiety-lacked-mental. html
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