Journal Article Summary
The journal article is titled “Psychologists Report Large Increase in Demand for Anxiety and Depression Treatment.” The survey was conducted by Sophie Bethune located at the institution of the American Psychological Association. The journal published on November 17th, 2020 builds upon a previous research conducted on the same subject in June 2020. In terms of age group, the study was conducted among practicing psychologists in the early, mid, and late stages of their careers. The survey which took place between August 28th and October 2020 can be described as a correlational study. It is a correlational study because it adopts a non-experimental approach whereby the researcher studies two variables and analyzes the statistical relationship that exists between them with little control of extraneous variables (Xiao, Carney, Youn, Janis, Castonguay, Hayes, & Locke 2017). The approach to research in this study is purely descriptive and does not rely heavily on hypothesis formulation and testing as in scientific research.
Summary of Methodology
The article focuses on the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the increased cases of patients with depression-related conditions and the changes to the service delivery to patients by practicing psychologists. According to the survey, about six months into the pandemic, many psychologists admitted to seeing more patients presenting with depression and anxiety according to the Telehealth Practitioner Survey on covid-19 done by the American Psychological Association. In regards to methodology, the practitioner survey was disseminated to a sample that was geographically representative of practicing psychologists in the USA including both members and non-members of the American Psychological Association. Worth noting, the fieldwork of this survey took place from August 28th, 2020 to 5th October 2020. Out of the total number of psychologists reached, a total of 1787 responded to the survey. Noteworthy, the sample was a non-probability sample hence it is impossible to compute the margins of error or confidence intervals.
Summary of Results
Data collected from the survey confirmed the institution’s worst fear, that the pandemic was taking a heavy emotional toll on Americans. This is according to the institution’s Chief Executive Officer. In responding to the unprecedented mental health crisis, most psychologists were getting more referrals, seeing more patients and experiencing fewer cancellations. Further, it was noted that more psychologists had embraced telehealth as they began treating patients remotely. Results from the September survey indicated that most psychologists reported seeing an increased number of patients with depressive disorders accounting for 60% and anxiety disorders accounting for 74% compared to before the pandemic began. Moreover, other treatments that recorded a significant increase in patients included sleep-wake disorder and stress-related disorder. Additionally, according to the survey, 37% of the psychologists which accounts for more than one-third of the total psychologists revealed that they received more patient referrals compared to before the pandemic. Moreover, 44% admitted to recording fewer cancellations or no-shows. The survey further revealed that compared to pre-covid days, 43% of psychologists said that they were attending to the same number of patients, 29% said they were attending to more clients, and 28% reported seeing fewer patients. Most psychologists reported that they did not see any notable changes in the patient variations recorded with specific ethnic and racial groups. However, 9% of psychologists reported an increase in attending to patients of Asian origin while 11% recorded an increase in seeing African American patients. Further, 19% of the psychologist reported attending to White patients and 8% revealed they were seeing more patients with Hispanic patients. 21% of the psychologist revealed that they were attending to more adolescents aged 13-17 after the covid-19 pandemic while 29% revealed that were attending to more adults between 18 and 64 years. Moreover, revealed that 17% attended the older adult patients between 65-79 years while 30% noted that they attended to fewer children that were below 13 years. 63% of the psychologist treated all patients remotely while 32% conducted in-person treatment. Worth noting, 63% of the psychologist reported remote treatment to be more challenging than in-person treatment, 26% recorded a fair amount of challenges, 58% reported few challenges while 16% experienced no challenges relating to telehealth.
Questions Raised by the Study
This study raises the question of the direction that health service delivery is taking and the need to invest and employ technology as a tool to improve community health. Without a doubt, the covid-19 pandemic is an unprecedented issue that prompted us to seek alternative ways to health care delivery. When the pandemic emerged, doctors had to e creative to ensure they went on with their work without exacerbating the spread of the virus. Although telehealth is challenging, the pandemic has taught us that it is doable. The focus now should be on devising ways to make the telehealth experience better and even adopting it as a means of treatment even after the pandemic is over. There is need to invest in policy formulations to regulate telehealth services.
Xiao, H., Carney, D. M., Youn, S. J., Janis, R. A., Castonguay, L. G., Hayes, J. A., & Locke, B. D. (2017). Are we in crisis? National mental health and treatment trends in college counseling centers. Psychological services, 14(4), 407.