Opinion: The wait for mental health services is excessive


Isa Quilter

Artwork by Isa Quilter depicts a person struggling with the wait for mental health services.

Elizabeth Atanosian, Staff Writer

When Covid-19 became a worldwide issue, wait times for nonessential services in the medical industry increased, as did the wait times in the world of mental health.
However, most, if not all services in the mental health industry are necessary, and the needs of certain people can pop up unexpectedly and can not wait for help.
Wait times for mental health services have always been excessively long, taking into consideration that these patients need help as soon as possible, as it could be a serious life or death situation.
According to NPR, long wait times for mental health treatment is a nationwide problem. There are high reports of patients waiting an average of five or six weeks for care, which is excessively long for somebody in a fragile mental state.
Telehealth appointments have helped schedule online appointments with psychologists and therapists, but those appointment spots fill up quickly and people are still waiting months just to get in, as there are not enough therapists to hire.
The National Library of Medicine, says that due to the lack of therapists, psychiatrists and available spots, some companies have started to shorten the length of sessions and appointments, but the shorter the session, the less help the patient receives, the less progress they make if they make any at all.
Along with shortened sessions, the period of time between them increases, resulting in the same problem when it comes to process.
The National Library of Medicine also states that there is significant evidence to show that the longer the waiting time is, usually anywhere from 3 months or more, the more deterioration a patient has over the course of 12 months.
Due to the long wait times, there can be both short term and long term effects on their mental health, which could send them back to the thoughts and feelings they were having before they received help.
One of the only ways to get immediate help is to call a crisis hotline, but the most that they can do at that point in time is try to talk to you in order to help calm you down to return you to a better mindset.
The issue of the long wait times in the mental health industry continue to get worse as time passes.
Presently, professionals are working to find a solution for this issue, however it is a struggle to fix something without the necessary resources.
If you notice that you are having thoughts and feelings that you don’t think are typical, please reach out to someone you trust. If you don’t have anyone you are comfortable talking to, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255. Not only can they help you with suicidal thoughts, but they can also just be there for you to talk to.
Don’t be scared to reach out for help. The process of feeling and doing better can be so difficult, but in the long term you’ll be glad you did, because better days are coming.