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Mental Health Agencies in NJ Battle Effects of Covid

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The pandemic has taken a big toll on mental health. A recent survey shows 53% of adults in the US say worry and stress about Covid-19 has adversely affected their mental state, and many seek care.

Shauna Moses of the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies said the increased caseload means mental health professionals are really up against it.

“There’s the stress and the risk of compassion fatigue from having to put in extra hours trying to serve more people,” she said, “especially if coworkers at the mental health agencies might be out because they’re ill or there are family members who are ill.”

People who already have had mental health disorders or substance abuse disorders, or both, are experiencing exacerbated symptoms because of the impact of Covid, she said, in addition to those seeking care for the first time.

Moses said they hope to see some enduring changes in the way services are administered after the pandemic.

“We are hoping that the relaxation of telehealth regulations from the state and the federal governments will continue permanently,” she said. “So far there is a state law that was signed on July 1 that will extend the regulations for up to 90 days past when Governor Murphy declares the crisis to be over.”

Moses said telehealth is important because it may be quite some time before people on both sides of the equation --- providers and patients --- feel comfortable in a face-to-face setting.