It’s complicated… –
Dec. 23, 2020 – Second, there’s been a noticeably larger percentage of individuals that come to us requiring intensive mental healthcare compared to previous years. On average, approximately 10 to 15 percent of our incoming clients are immediately redirected to a higher level of care. These individuals are carefully guided towards a program or facility that’s more appropriate for their (usually critical) clinical needs. This year, that rate has nearly tripled. Folks are coming to us extremely distressed after months of neglecting their mental health, and thus a more rigorous, closely monitored program is often required. Recent data from the CDC provides additional context behind this observation. A survey administered in June noted that 40 percent of adult respondents were struggling with mental health and/or substance use issues since the pandemic shutdowns began. Again, we’re seeing how mental health is being compromised by the isolation, anxiety, and distress that the pandemic and shutdowns create. Our society must take action and help get people in touch with the support they need in a timely manner. This all leads me to the third and perhaps most informative piece of information from our research. When we took a closer look at what our clients that successfully completed their treatment goals had in common, we found that those who attended treatment in person were almost twice as likely to complete their treatment goals compared to those who participated remotely. Does this mean that telehealth is deplorable? No. In fact, the expansion of telehealth has arguably saved our collective mental health from collapsing entirely. Telehealth gives us the opportunity to support immunocompromised clients, connect with those dealing with debilitating anxiety, and extend our reach from Los Angeles to all of California. However, the importance of attending treatment and group therapy in person must not be understated.