Americans Facing Reduced Access To Mental Health Aid Amidst The Pandemic

Americans Facing Reduced Access To Mental Health Aid Amidst The Pandemic

According to a report named State of the Nation’s Mental Health published by Anthem, Americans are not receiving the essential assistance for mental health.

Americans Facing Reduced Access To Mental Health Aid Amidst The Pandemic

Anthem is the largest health care company in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Americans Facing Reduced Access To Mental Health Aid Amidst The Pandemic

This observation is particularly evident for the younger, older, and financially challenged section of the society.

How the covid-19 affected the minorities?

These comparatively weaker sections of society have been impacted the most by the collateral adversaries of the pandemic. 

These include financial uncertainty, high fatality, weaker medical and health infrastructure.

According to Dr. Shantanu Agrawal, the chief health officer of Anthem, anxiety and depression were heavily reported.

He further implied the lack of aid in managing such mental health conditions.

The official data backing the scenario.

The US Government Accountability Office published another report that substantiates the claims of Anthem.

It analyzed the mental health assistance that was available to the populace during the pandemic.

According to the report, an estimated 68% of the 3400 mental health clinics, that were supposed to cater to the weaker sections, canceled the services due to lower budget or staff unavailability.

Chuck Ingoglia, the president and CEO of the National Council of Behavioral Health, stated that abatement in the budget harshly impacted the already poorly funded community health clinics.

Why mental health assistance is more important in the present time?.

Covid-19 had a widespread impact on every aspect of our lives, including mental, physical, and emotional.

Dr. Charles Marmar, chairman of the department of psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center, stated that such crisis is further magnified by substance abuse, a deep-rooted social problem of the community.

Marmar suggests that the need for easily accessible, efficient mental health aid for everyone is most necessary at this time.

Facts and figures

A poll undertaken by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed a negative effect on the mental health of an estimated 56% of Americans. 

Such observation was obtained within two months of lockdown last year.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention carried out another survey in June of 2020. 

It showed approximately 41% of Americans were dealing with issues like depression, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety. 

All of these were believed to have been instigated by the pandemic.

The Commonwealth Fund held an observation on mental health concerns of 9 countries in August 2020, in which America topped the list. 

These countries include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Sweden, UK, and the Netherlands. 

Mental health help was grossly unavailable in the US, compared to the other countries while, 33% of Americans reported facing emotional issues strenuous to manage on their own.

Further to the Kaiser Family Foundation report, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts were most noticed in the age group of 18-24 years, which is 25% and 26% higher, respectively, compared to adults.

Significance of Anthem’s survey

Anthem has 27 million-member enrollment across 50 states.

These enrollments are mainly in individual or employer-funded healthcare and medical plans.

According to Anthem’s reports, mental health was most unattended in the younger and older populace of society, especially below 12 years and above 75 years of age.

Such a situation may have emerged since health services comprising video is still not the preferred option among elderly people. They usually opt for audio-only options.

These audio-only health service options are not widely available under the medical plans covering the older population. 

Hence, including audio medicine services in the insurance plans are crucial.

For children, it was the teachers who made the first identifications of such issues. 

With the pandemic shutting down the schools, the issues went unnoticed and untreated.

The clinics that were shut during the pandemic, owing to the shortfall in the budget, are expected to return to normalcy and restore their services.

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