Are you working longer hours because of the pandemic? You’re not alone.
More people are seeking help for pandemic-related distress, says Kristy Dalrymple, PhD, who directs adult psychology at the Brown University-affiliated Lifespan Physicians Group in Providence, Rhode Island. And the convenience of getting help from home via teletherapy is reducing the number of appointment no-shows, meaning there’s less slack in the system and it is more difficult to take on new patients.
“We try when we can to refer out to other private practices in the community, but it’s the same thing everywhere,” says Dalrymple. “So, we do have waiting lists.”
Almost three-quarters of licensed psychologists who treat patients for anxiety disorders report an increase in demand since the pandemic began, according to an APA survey released in November 2020. Sixty percent of those who treat patients for depression report increased demand. Other areas seeing increased need include stress-related disorders, sleeping problems, and trauma.
But there is obviously a limit to how much more practitioners can—and should—work.
More than four in 10 practitioners feel burned out because of the increased pressure, according to APA’s survey. And the public is suffering, as well: Thirty percent of practitioners surveyed said they simply weren’t able to meet the demand for treatment.
How can you help more patients without harming your own mental well-being? Try these tips: