Mental Health in the News: October 20, 2022

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Mental Health in the News

Welcome to Madison Avenue TMS & Psychiatry’s Mental health in the News weekly update. Below are some current news events relating to mental health and mental health treatments.

A New Survey Asks Why Americans Have Stopped Going to Therapy. The Answer–Money 

A new survey conducted by Verywell Mind found that even though Americans want support with their mental health, more than a third of the 1,000 people surveyed reported that they had stopped seeing their therapist last year. The reason: it was too expensive.

Eighty percent of those surveyed stated that they thought therapy was a good investment; However, 40% reported that they need some form of financial assistance to pay for the sessions. Even those who were insured worried that they would not be able to afford it in the long run–more than 60% paid an average of $178 out-of-pocket every month. 

Beyond the costs of the actual therapy session, which are getting more expensive as some therapists adjust their prices for inflation, people reported that they’re also concerned about secondary costs, like paying for childcare, transportation, or medication.

While the cost of accessing mental health care rises, Americans are still struggling with their mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the World Health Organization, in 2020 there was a 25% increase in anxiety and depression worldwide. 

Amy Morin, Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and psychotherapist, worries that if people do not have access to the proper care, there will be negative consequences: “The longer we go without treating [mental health conditions], sometimes the worse the symptoms get and the harder things are to treat.”

For those struggling to pay for mental health services, consider trying the following:

  • Talk to your therapist about the cost of sessions
  • Consider group therapy, they are usually less expensive
  • Try online counseling, it might be equally or less expensive, compared to an in-person session
  • Check out podcasts by counselors 
  • Find a support group
  • If in crisis, call 988, the national crisis lifeline

To read the original news article, click here.

What to Consider When Choosing a Mental Health App

It’s estimated that there are more than 150,000 health-related apps, roughly 10,000 of those geared toward mental health. So, which one should you choose? In an article for Psychology Today, Dr. David Susman shares some things people should consider when choosing a mental health app. 

First of all, while mental health apps may be helpful, they are not a substitute for a professional therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist. There is very little systematic research demonstrating the effectiveness of mental health apps in treating symptoms of mental health conditions. In fact, most apps have not been formally studied or investigated for these purposes. One possible solution is to ask your mental health professional for recommendations–but be wary of personal online reviews of the apps, as they are not reliable. 

It is also important to keep in mind that not every app will help every person. When choosing an app, consider your goals–do you want to track daily habits? Do you want to learn about new self-soothing or coping skills? Figuring out what you want to learn or accomplish can guide you in choosing the appropriate app for you. Whichever one you choose, Dr. Susman recommends telling your therapist so that they can guide you and offer you insights while you are using the app. 

Finally, Dr. Susman asks you to think carefully about how the app will protect your privacy and personal information. Get clear on whether the app is collecting your data, how it is being used, and whether they follow Federal health care standards for guarding personal health information. 

In the end, mental health apps can be a low-cost tool in your mental health toolkit that supports you in your mental wellness journey but it is best used in conjunction with (not a substitute for) professional mental health care.

To read the original news article, click here.

Dr. Woo has been seeing patients in private practice since 2002, always with the goals of combining evidence-based medicine with psychodynamic psychotherapy and collaborating with other mental health professionals to ensure the best possible outcomes for his patients. He has been certified to administer TMS at his practice since 2017. His greatest clinical interests include helping patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

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