The COVID-19 pandemic is making it more difficult for people to obtain mental health treatment, the Associated Press reports.
Experts say social-distancing orders are impacting access to treatment. Although Medicare and Medicaid are allowing counseling by phone or online, many elderly and low-income patients who use these insurance programs are not comfortable with remote treatment options, the article notes.
“For people who are socially disadvantaged and have mental illness, it’s just a lot to ask,” said Dr. Jeanie Tse of the Institute for Community Living in Brooklyn, New York.
It can be difficult to find a counselor who takes insurance. Fees for people without insurance are often more than $100 a session.
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found almost half of Americans say worry or stress from the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health.
“You can’t put people into situations where they’re locked in their homes for weeks on end and not expect that there’s going to a significant number of people that develop mental health problems,” said Elinore McCance-Katz, who leads the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Telehealth to Treat Substance Use and Mental Health Problems: What Families Need to Know
Telehealth is a combination of tools and resources that help you and your family get medical care from your own home.