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Psychologists Find Demand for Mental Health Services Still Rising

Psychologists say they are seeing increased demand for depression, anxiety treatment

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WEDNESDAY, Nov. 3, 2021 (HealthDay News) -- Psychologists are reporting a large increase in demand for treatment of anxiety and depression in 2021, according to a survey released by the American Psychological Association (APA).

The APA surveyed 1,141 doctoral-level, active licensed U.S. psychologists (both APA members and nonmembers) between Aug. 30 and Sept. 17, 2021. Results were compared to the 2020 COVID-19 Telehealth Practitioner Survey conducted between Aug. 28 and Oct. 5, 2020 (1,787 psychologists).

According to the results of the survey, the majority of psychologists who treat anxiety disorders (84 percent) report they have seen an increase in demand for anxiety treatment since the start of the pandemic, up from 74 percent a year ago. Similar results were seen for psychologists who treat depression, with nearly three-quarters of providers (72 percent) saying they have seen an increase versus 60 percent in 2020. Increased demand was also seen for treatment of sleep-wake disorders, obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, and substance-related and addictive disorders. There was nearly a doubling in the number of psychologists who reported receiving more referrals this year than last year (from 37 percent in 2020 to 62 percent this year). More than four in 10 respondents (41 percent) say they are unable to meet the demand for treatment and 46 percent report feeling burned out (up from 41 percent last year).

"These numbers highlight what we have been saying since the early days of the pandemic -- we are facing a mental health tsunami," Arthur C. Evans Jr., Ph.D., chief executive officer of the APA, said in a statement. "We need to continue to support treatment via telehealth, and we must invest in screening, prevention, and innovative interventions to expand access to various levels of care."

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