Oct. 10 is World Mental Health Day, and the pandemic has taken a toll on mental health worldwide.
More than half the Americans questioned in a recent survey, 53%, said worry and stress related to the pandemic had affected their mental health.
Social worker Lisa Lawson of Catholic Charities in Trenton is also director of certified community behavioral health clinics, which serve the underserved. “We provide services through the CCBHC’s regardless of a person’s ability to pay, regardless of their insurance or lack of insurance, and importantly for some populations, we offer many services now free of charge, regardless of citizenship,” she said.
Lawson said virtual services such as telehealth are making it much easier to reach those who have gone untreated, but it’s been an adjustment for providers. “The mode of service now is more heavily reliant on telehealth and telemedicine as it is sometimes called but it’s been beneficial in that way,” she said. “There have certainly been challenges for everyone ,and while many of our organizations including Catholic Charities have adjusted to this new mode of service delivery, we still have room to improve.”
Providers have their hands full trying to treat those in need. Lawson said the pandemic has revealed how many people were not getting the care they need. “Individuals living in rural communities or those who are lacking insurance or proper care,” she said, “particularly populations that may be considered undocumented, or those again who are either uninsured or underinsured, which oftentimes includes the veteran population.”
It is not just the United States that is experiencing a behavioral health crisis. According to the WHO, close to a billion people worldwide are living with a mental disorder and every 40 seconds, a person dies by suicide.