COVID’s Impact on Behavioral Health

COVID-19 is arguably the biggest public health crisis we have faced in our lifetimes. But there’s more to this crisis than merely dealing with a novel virus for which we initially had no defenses. That is the parallel crisis in behavioral health and how it has impacted individuals in treatment and the industry itself.

Numerous studies over the years point out that 1 in 5 adults, or 20%, experience a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year and that more than half go untreated for various reasons-most often lack of coverage or funding. According to insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield and based on 2019 data, there are more than 200 million missed workdays due to mental health conditions each year, and during COVID that only has increased. That’s roughly $16.8 billion in lost productivity in a “normal” non-pandemic year. Imagine the numbers for 2020 and for this year.

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