Living with the stress and uncertainties of COVID-19 has negatively affected many people’s mental health. A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 41.1% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder in January of 2021. This represents an enormous jump from the 11.0% of adults who reported those symptoms January through June of 2019. The psychological impact of the pandemic has taken a large toll on society, and history has shown us that these negative consequences will likely continue to increase for years to come.
Americans’ mental health is on the decline
A Gallop poll from 2020 showed that American’s mental health is “worse than it has been at any point in the last two decades.” This growing need produces an ever-increasing demand for mental health care, an area of medicine that is already facing nationwide shortages. In 2018, the shortage of psychiatrists was considered to be more severe than in any other specialty. This disparity has continued to grow alongside patient’s increasing need for more mental health services.
American’s mental health is “worse than it has been at any point in the last two decades.”
The important role of licensed clinical social workers
As discussed in previous articles, the increased need for mental health services has led to an expansion of telepsychiatry. Most people are familiar with psychiatrists and nurse practitioners, but we want to highlight one of the less well-known heroes of mental health care, licensed clinical social workers. These specialists help mental health patients prevent and treat mental illness and connect patients with local agencies and organizations when needed. They work hand-in-hand with our board-certified psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and counselors to provide quality patient care.
While not able to prescribe, licensed clinical social workers help patients manage mental health issues by providing counseling, education, and making sure there are no gaps in medical services. They specialize in treating the whole person, not just a disease, helping patients in all areas of their lives. This is what sets licensed clinical social workers apart – they approach patients with a “person-in-environment” framework. Meaning that they work to understand the individual patient and their behavior in the context of their larger environment. They do this by examining the influences and aspects of a patient’s life and completing a thorough assessment and treatment plan in collaboration with the patient and other mental health professionals.
LCSWs help mental health patients prevent and treat mental illness and connect patients with local agencies and organizations when needed.
Licensed Clinical social workers help empower patients to make better choices in their lives and better understand the issues they face, while providing them with the tools and techniques needed to cope with their lives. Licensed clinical social workers and counselors form a vital part of the MindCare team. Mental health issues can be tough to live with, and patients face a myriad of difficult situations, especially during a pandemic. Social workers and counselors help patients overcome the challenges they face and work to improve their mental health.
How MindCare is helping providers and patients
In today’s stressful climate, mental health issues for patients and providers are skyrocketing. Faced with a surge of COVID-19 patients for over a year now, healthcare providers are feeling overworked and burned out. Many hospitals are not equipped to handle mental health patients, and few emergency physicians receive any training on how to treat these patients. Telepsychiatry helps to fill this gap, bringing care to patients and easing the burden on hospital staff.
MindCare’s carefully selected team is well versed in caring for mental health patients. Our telepsychiatry services offer consistent, quality care, and timely access for patients. To help meet today’s growing need for mental health services, MindCare is working to expand our provider list to include more licensed clinical social workers. They, along with the rest of MindCare’s team, can help determine the proper diagnosis, offer treatment recommendations, assist with patient discharge, and even provide follow-up care. With MindCare, behavioral and mental health patients can get the holistic care and medical treatment they need.