Did you know that on an average, the wait time to secure an appointment and meet with a psychiatrist is 25 days? Furthermore, according to a study about 77 percent of the US countries are underserved. The study clearly pictures out how America badly needs the service and professional help of psychiatrists. The study was made by the National Council for Behavioral Health. The National Council for Behavioral Health represents nearly 3,000 mental health as well as addiction treatment organizations.
While it is true that the number of inpatient and outpatient programs have generally declined across the US area, the same is also happening to the number of licensed psychiatrists who are qualified to provide primary care to people suffering from various mental health and substance abuse or dependency disorder. What is more alarming is that, aside from the worrying shortage, the number of practicing psychiatrists is also declining. Statistics show that the number has went down 10% from the year 2003 to 2013.
Today there are only over 45,500 psychiatrists working in the mental health care workforce. Hence, according to Linda Rosenberg who is the CEO and the president of the National Council for Behavioral Health, “In every town in America, we see the unmet need—young pregnant women with untreated addiction living on the streets; older adults who are isolated, anxious, and at risk for suicide; men and women with mental illnesses released from jails without housing or access to care.” It is quite unfortunate that this psychiatrist shortage is happening at a time when the State is trying to battle and cope up with the rising figure of suicide rates as well as the seemingly out of control epidemic of opioid addiction. It is indeed high time to do necessary actions otherwise, the problem can only get worst.
In an effort to counter the trend and deal with the current shortage of psychiatrist professionals, National Council for Behavioral Health suggests some alternative recommendations which include:
1. Educating the public about telepsychiatry. Telepsychiatry refers to the process of providing health care to patients amidst the distance through the use of technology. Oftentimes the processis done through videoconferencing. This method provides opportunity to reach out to more mental patients who may be living very far and are unable to make medicalappointments.
2. Embracing an open-minded approach to mental health servicesthrough emphasizing the significance of taking care of both mental and physical health.
3. At the federal level, lawmakers must work on promoting policies - like Medicaid expansion that will strengthenthe availability and access to various mental treatment and services.
Psychiatrists undeniably play a significant role in providing care and treatment for the people suffering from substance use and addiction. As what Dr. Stuart Gitlow, a general, forensic and addiction psychiatrist, has said psychiatry is an essential component for the treatment of addiction. Simply put, the need for proper psychiatric diagnosis is crucial for the treatment of addiction and the much-needed recovery due to substance abuse. For psychiatry help contact Psychiatry Treatment.