States across the U.S., facing COVID-19 related budget shortfalls, are also contending with increased demand for mental health services as a result of the pandemic (Source: “As Demand for Mental Health Care Spikes, Budget Ax Set to Strike,” Kaiser Health News, Feb. 5).
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that demand for mental health services rose from 1 in 3 people in March to more than half of people surveyed in July.
The full extent of the mental health crisis and the demand for behavioral health services may not be known until after the pandemic is over, mental health experts said. That could add costs that budget writers have not anticipated.
“It usually takes a while before people feel comfortable seeking care from a specialty behavioral health organization,” said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the nonprofit National Council for Behavioral Health in Washington, D.C. “We are not likely to see the results of that either in terms of people seeking care — or suicide rates going up — until we’re on the other side of the pandemic.”