The Need for In-Person Therapy Remains in the Telehealth Boom

Therapy is not a one-size-fits-all situation. The format that works for one person isn’t guaranteed to be the same format that works for another person. Luckily, over the last several years, there have been many changes and advances in how licensed therapists can help provide mental health support to those in need, one of which is the rise of virtual therapy.

Virtual therapy rose in prominence largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As businesses closed and people were more isolated indoors, therapists sought a way to connect with their clients and provide the kind of support needed amid such a unique crisis. But now, the demand for in-person therapy is resuming, while mental health pros are struggling to compensate.

High Demand for Mental Health Resources

To be clear, the demand for mental health resources was alive and well long before the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the pandemic, political landscape, and a slew of other factors forced the statistics up drastically. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), nearly 20 percent of U.S. adults were living with a mental illness in 2019. In 2020, the percentage of people reporting mental health issues was 40 percent.

Although an increase, that percentage may not seem alarming. Until you consider that in 2008, a year of significant economic uncertainty in its own right, less than 18% of adults struggled with mental illness, and it took 11 years for that number to reach 20%. Compared to an increase of 20% in just one year, it’s clear that the state of the world in 2020 profoundly impacted the nation’s mental health.

Increase in Therapist Burnout: Increase in Telehealth

As the need for mental health increases at alarming rates, mental health professionals are in higher demand than ever. However, consider that mental health professionals are not immune to the effects of 2020 that burden the rest of us.

The world is witnessing a growing shortage of mental health therapists, and it’s on track to continue. Within a few years, the country will be short between 14,280 and 31,109 psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers, leaving the rest grossly overextended.

As much of the workforce went remote, so did therapy, which seemed to be the answer to so many of our worries in this industry. The use of telehealth therapy increased, and so too did the outlook for mental health professionals. According to a survey from the American Medical Association, 54% of mental health professionals indicated that telehealth had improved their satisfaction with their own work. Many would be grateful if telehealth did mean the end to the mental health epidemic. But unfortunately, it’s not a solution for some.

The Need for In-Person Therapy Remains

The need for in-person therapy hasn’t waned for some. Many benefit more from in-person therapy, thanks to face-to-face interaction. Children, in particular, benefit from adult interactions in learning to manage their feelings and build decision-making skills. Social workers on site for children experiencing traumatic events often provide more comfort than a phone or video call.

Furthermore, the interpersonal connection provided by therapy is beneficial to those seeking comfort and community after an isolating experience through the pandemic. For some, the in-person connection is of great value for feeling heard and understood to bring their mental health concerns to a supportive yet neutral space. So while more mental health professionals are going digital, where does that leave the clients that thrive on in-person sessions?

Partner the growing mental health crisis with a truly unprecedented labor shortage, and we get to this burning question: How are we recruiting mental health professionals that are willing to continue in-person therapy?

When you and your competition are posting the same positions, are on the same job boards, and are offering similar hiring bonuses, the key to attracting top mental health professionals lies in the candidate experience. PREDICTIVEHR experts understand the unique hurdles ailing the mental health industry, and we’re here to help.

PREDICTIVEHR offers RPO services backed by experts in recruiting mental health professionals to ensure your hiring goals are achieved. Contact us today to get started.