Emergency room visits for drug overdoses and suicide attempts increased during the pandemic, while access to behavioral health treatment decreased, according to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
ERs reported a 36% jump in overdose visits and a 26% increase in visits for suicide attempts between April 2020 and February 2021, compared with the same period the previous year.
The study also found 27% more adults in the United States reported symptoms of anxiety or depression during that period, according to CBS News.
In a February 2021 survey of its members, the National Council for Behavioral Health found that in the three months preceding the survey, about two-thirds of the member organizations surveyed reported demand for their services was increasing, while they had to cancel or reschedule patient appointments or turn patients away. The survey found 27% of member organizations reported laying off employees, 45% reported closing some programs and 35% decreased the hours for staff.