Description: Consider the titles of the two articles listed immediately below in the Sources section of this post. They both appeared on the same day in the same online media source and were illustrated by the same photo (see either article). Before going to look at either article think for a minute about how you might reconcile the apparently diametrically opposed statements regarding the need for and use of mental health services by Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic. Given the wording of the headlines, would it surprise you to hear that the two articles are actually referring to the same source? Have a read though both articles and see if you can sort out what is going on.
Sources: U.S. Psychologists See Big Spike in Demand for Mental Health Care. Robert Preidt, US News and World Reports and
Little Change Seen in American’s Use of Mental Health Services During Pandemic, Denise Mann, U.S. News and World Reports.
Date: October 20, 2021
Article Links: https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-10-20/us-psychologists-see-big-spike-in-demand-for-mental-health-care and https://www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-10-20/little-change-seen-in-americans-use-of-mental-health-services-during-pandemic
So, the explanation for the apparently opposed headlines describing the same study may be a rather simple one. There WAS a huge jump in the need for mental health services among Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic but there was a significant drop in the availability of such services due to both increased demand and pandemic-related supply reductions. It is certainly true that issues related to the availability and accessibility of mental health services during the Covid-19 pandemic ran a not too distant second to issues relating to medical services. This was not just the case in the United States as the Canadian experience highlighted some of the consequences of mental health services not being a routine part of Canada’s universal health care plan. Something to ponder if we get the time and space to do so.
Questions for Discussion:
- What is the main point of each of the articles linked above?
- What happened with the supply of and demand for mental health services during the Covid-19 pandemic?
- How might you re-write one or the other or both of the two article headlines in order to make them more compatible with the data each is reporting upon (or is that even possible)?
References (Read Further):
APA (Oct 19, 2021) Demand for mental health treatment continues to increase, say psychologists. Link
APA (Oct 19, 2021) Worsening mental health crisis pressured psychologist workforce: 2021 Covid-19 Practitioner Survey. Link
Pfefferbaum, B., & North, C. S. (2020). Mental health and the Covid-19 pandemic. New England Journal of Medicine, 383(6), 510-512. Link
Cullen, W., Gulati, G., & Kelly, B. D. (2020). Mental health in the COVID-19 pandemic. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, 113(5), 311-312. Link
Zajacova, A., Jehn, A., Stackhouse, M., Choi, K. H., Denice, P., Haan, M., & Ramos, H. (2020). Mental health and economic concerns from March to May during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada: Insights from an analysis of repeated cross-sectional surveys. SSM-population health, 12, 100704. Link
Jenkins, E. K., McAuliffe, C., Hirani, S., Richardson, C., Thomson, K. C., McGuinness, L., … & Gadermann, A. (2021). A portrait of the early and differential mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada: findings from the first wave of a nationally representative cross-sectional survey. Preventive Medicine, 145, 106333. Link