(WHTM)– The need is great, but the help is not great enough for mental health professionals who are treating the growing number of people seeking treatment.
“I would say this is a massive problem,” Resolute Counseling therapist Mikala Morrow said.
Morrow is a licensed therapist on the front lines of mental health in Pa., a state with more than 1,500 suicides a year.
“That’s just the statistics for those who have completed suicide, not those who have attempted suicide, who have overdosed, who engage in acts of self-harm, who are also people in a lot of pain,” Morrow said.
Pain exacerbated by the pandemic. More people need help, but not enough people providing it.
“As a physician, I can tell you this is something we’ve never had enough of for years,” secretary for the Pa. Department of Human Services Dr. Valerie Arkoosh said.
Arkoosh says the state’s steering an additional $20,000,000 to the counties for mental health services this year with an understanding much more is needed. She’s also stepping up recruiting.
These are incredibly caring and helpful professions,” Arkoosh said. “There’s tremendous opportunity for professional growth, and I hope that people will look seriously at becoming a social worker, other or a peer specialist.”
New recruits might solve tomorrow’s problem but aren’t fighting today’s battle. There are depressed, anxious, and even suicidal clients waiting weeks or months for treatment.
“It is very frustrating and sad to see how many people cannot get the care that they need,” Morrow said.
Morrow says society must pick up the slack and be part of the solution. Check in on friends and loved ones. Help them find the help they need. Advocate.
“Get on as many waitlists as you can if you find yourself on a waitlist for a therapist, don’t stop there,” Morrow said. “Reach out to your community, join a support group, read a self-help book. Engage in a podcast.”
Morrow has about 60 clients. She dreams of the day that number to be zero.
“The goal is I don’t want any clients,” Morrow said. “Like I want you to all go off and do your thing.”
Perhaps someday, but certainly not today.
A reminder if you’re struggling with dark thoughts or are in crisis the suicide prevention hotline is 9-8-8. the call will be answered and the next steps provided.