American mental health professionals say they cannot keep up with the demand for therapy.
As Americans approach a third year of pandemic life, therapists across the country find themselves on the front lines of a mental health crisis.
Social workers, psychologists and counselors in every state say they cannot keep up with the relentless demand for their services, and many are having to turn away patients — including children — who are in desperate need of support.
“Every therapist I know has experienced a request for therapy unlike anything they’ve experienced before,” said Tom Lachiusa, a licensed clinical social worker in Longmeadow, Mass. “Every available slot I can offer is filled.”
The New York Times surveyed 1,320 mental health professionals about how their patients were coping with the easing of pandemic restrictions. General anxiety and depression are the most common reasons patients seek help, but family and relationship issues also dominate therapy conversations. One in four providers said suicidal thoughts were among the top reasons clients seek therapy.
“I regularly wished aloud a version of Dr. Fauci in mental health to give daily briefings,” said Lakeasha Sullivan, a clinical psychologist in Atlanta. “I tried to normalize the wide range of intense emotions that people feel; some thought they were really going crazy.