Aside from the fact that more and more people realize the importance of proper self-care, including therapy, there is another aspect to this mental health crisis. Since more people want to seek help with their mental health, therapists and other psychological professionals struggle to keep up with and maintain the influx of clients. This means that some individuals are experiencing real difficulty getting in to see a professional to diagnose and prescribe medications that may help someone.
Some waiting periods for a primary appointment are weeks to months. As some might know, time is of the essence when it comes to mental health. We know now that children and teens are among the largest influx in numbers regarding the mental health discussion, as recent research has come out saying that more children and teens have opened up about their own emotional struggles, especially during the pandemic. Children who struggle with their will to live have been turned away from hospital psychiatric wards due to there not being enough beds to give them adequate care.
Aside from there not being enough space for patients, therapists are more overworked now than ever. Therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and all other licensed mental health professionals are feeling the fatigue of constantly working to ensure individuals are taken care of. It might sound crazy, but they are people and they experience burnout, fatigue, and mood instabilities, and more, just like everyone else. They just know how to adjust, but sometimes that means creating more boundaries between work and personal life – which means more waiting in the patient aspect.
So what are people supposed to do when they struggle with mental health but can’t get in to see a professional as soon as they’d like?
First, it’s always best to go ahead and make the appointment with the professional. Even if the next available appointment is six months away, schedule it – they might be able to move you up if there are cancellations. Second, get connected in any way to support. Check this website to sign up for a support group, get connected with a coach, or just reach out to me. Getting some support is half the battle. There are so many resources that can be used to regulate mental health episodes until professionals are able to get involved. Finally, if you or a loved one find themselves in a mental health emergency, don’t hesitate to call 988.