Americans Are So Mentally Ill There Aren’t Enough Psychologists To Meet The Demand: REPORT

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Julianna Frieman Contributor
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More than half of American psychologists said they have no openings for new patients as post-COVID mental health issues increase across the country, a survey from the American Psychological Association (APA) found.

Roughly 56% of psychologists are unable to treat new patients due to high demand, according to an annual survey from the APA. Average wait times were at least three months or longer as 40% of psychologists keeping waitlists reported an upsurge in waitlisted appointments within the past year.

“We continue to see incredibly high demand for mental health services and an incredibly limited supply,” Vaile Wright, psychologist and senior director of Health Care Innovation at the APA, said, according to NPR. “This is not a sustainable solution to addressing the mental health crisis in this country.”

The duration of treatment needed by patients has increased within the past three years the survey was administered, the APA survey found. The COVID-19 pandemic had a lasting impact on Americans who continue to seek care for mental health disorders including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, sleep disturbances and addiction, the survey found. (RELATED: ROOKE: American Kids Are Struggling. It’s Time To Start Talking About Their Parents)

“I think there are a variety of ways that individuals experience trauma during the pandemic,” Wright said, according to NPR. “It could be the loss of a loved one and the grief that comes along with that. It could be one’s own sickness and the impact of hospitalizations.”

“It’s when things actually start to quiet down that the impacts of all we’ve gone through, all that stress, actually starts to hit us,” Wright said, NPR reported.

Roughly 36% of psychologists felt burnt out, which is a slight decline from 41% of respondents in 2021, according to the report. Two-thirds of psychologists reportedly said they effectively practice self-care to combat burnout and nearly half rely on peer support.