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Demand for mental health treatment continues to increase, say psychologists (

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As the impact of the pandemic on mental health continues, psychologists are reporting a large increase in demand for treatment of anxiety and depression compared with last year, according to a new survey by the American Psychological Association.

Many psychologists also said they had increased workloads and longer waitlists than before the pandemic.

“As more people seek treatment for mental health conditions, the demands on psychological practitioners have increased,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, APA’s CEO. “Like many other health care providers, psychologists are feeling the pressure.”

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.

The number of psychologists who reported receiving more referrals this year almost doubled from last year (from 37% in 2020 to 62% this year). Almost 7 in 10 psychologists (68%) with a waitlist reported that it had grown longer since the start of the pandemic.

“These numbers highlight what we have been saying since the early days of the pandemic—we are facing a mental health tsunami,” Evans said. “We need to continue to support treatment via telehealth, and we must invest in screening, prevention, and innovative interventions to expand access to various levels of care.”

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