The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching impacts, forever redefining notions of normalcy. Heightened feelings of uncertainty paired with social distancing protocols have completely disrupted the way we connect and interact as human beings. As a result, hospitals and healthcare facilities are seeing an increased demand for behavioral health services. 

From feelings of loneliness and depression to the stress of juggling work-life balance in a remote environment, there’s a pressing need for counseling and mental health specialists to ensure accessibility to treatment.  

Behavioral Health Services Outlook

Across the country, psychologists are sharing insights and weighing in on the increased demand for mental health-related services since the onset of the pandemic. A recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) revealed the following:

  • 43% of psychologists reported an increase in patient volume, up 29% from APA’s 2020 survey. 
  • “More than 8 in 10 (84%) psychologists who treat anxiety disorders said they have seen an increase in demand for anxiety treatment since the start of the pandemic, compared with 74% a year ago. Demand for treatment of depression is also up, with 72% of psychologists who treat depressive disorders saying they have seen an increase, compared with 60% in 2020. Other treatment areas with greater demand included sleep-wake disorders, obsessive-compulsive and related disorders, and substance-related and addictive disorders, the survey found.”
  • 62% of psychologists shared they’re receiving more referrals, up from 37% in 2020, with 68% reporting their waitlist has grown larger since the pandemic started. 
  • 65% of respondents said they don’t have the capacity to accept new patients given their current caseload. 

Across the country, people of all ages and backgrounds are leaning on psychiatrists and mental health professionals to help them navigate and cope with everyday life. 

Attracting Behavioral Health Talent

From aging Baby Boomers to increasing patient demand, staffing shortages is a long-standing issue that will continue to plague the healthcare industry in the coming years. According to data from the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA), there’s a current shortage of about 7,226 mental health practitioners needed to bridge coverage gaps. 

With organizations across sectors extending benefit offerings and prioritizing employee mental health, it will continue to exacerbate demand for behavioral health services. Hospitals and facilities must implement a flexible staffing strategy and begin forecasting future needs to accommodate fluctuations in patient volume, drive workflow efficiency, and deliver high-quality care. 

If your facility doesn’t currently offer behavioral health services, it’s a potential revenue stream to consider tapping into. If you do provide these services, adequate staffing is imperative for ensuring your team doesn’t suffer from burnout. 

The key to meeting today’s demand for mental health professionals is to establish a pipeline of highly-qualified candidates to bridge staffing gaps and accommodate increased patient flow. With the rise of telehealth, you can cast a wider net and leverage providers from across the country, increasing access to mental health services for those in need. 

To learn more about how the healthcare recruitment team at Polaris can help your organization implement effective staffing solutions, contact us today.