5 Mental Health Predictions for 2023
The mental health industry has been on a trajectory—one driven by heightened awareness of mental health illnesses, increased media coverage, the pandemic’s impact and a more open public dialogue about the topic. This path is leading more people in the U.S. to seek mental health care, and for professionals in health care and beyond to find more innovative ways to ensure people get the care and support they need.
Here are our 5 predictions for how mental health care will continue to evolve in 2023.
1. Enhanced Benefits from Employers
In addition to the expected benefits like health and dental insurance, more employers are offering mental well-being benefits. Examples include:
Counseling sessions as part of employee assistance programs (EAP)
Mental health days and flexible work schedules
Meditation spaces in the office
Employer-sponsored insurance plans that provide more comprehensive coverage for mental health care
Although the trend started as companies tried to help workers cope with the stress, anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic, burned-out workers quitting during the “great resignation” drove home their importance.
More than half (58%) of employees surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management Foundation (SHRMF) said having a healthy work-life balance is more important to them than financial compensation, while 35% value mental health benefits from their employer more than an increase in pay.
Many businesses also found that these benefits helped the bottom line. The SHRMF survey found that 88% of human resources professionals think mental health offerings from employers can boost productivity, and 86% believe they can increase employee retention.
2. More On-Campus Mental Health Services
Schools have made great strides in improving their mental health resources and curriculum, and we predict they will continue to help destigmatize mental health challenges, train staff, integrate social-emotional learning and educate students on signs of mental health issues.
These are essential steps as the number of kids and teens affected by stress and mental health illnesses, including anxiety and depression, in the wake of the pandemic continues to rise. A recent CDC report found that the number of teens experiencing persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness has seen a 40% increase since 2009.
School-based mental health measures, including on-campus mental health services, have been linked to better outcomes and improved access to care.
3. The Evolution of Hybrid Mental Health Care
The telehealth trend to treat mental illness that gained traction during the pandemic isn’t going away. However, many providers are working to find the right balance between telehealth and office visits for therapy. Hybrid care, which integrates traditional in-person care with additional care provided via video, email and phone. likely will become more prevalent in 2023 and beyond.
Mental health challenges can arise at any time, and at MIND 24-7, we believe people should be able to access the mental health care they need when they need it. That’s why our clinics are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Similarly, telehealth for mental health offers an opportunity to expand access, especially helping those who live in remote areas or can’t attend in-person appointments during traditional office hours for a variety of reasons.
4. Creative Solutions to Provider Shortages
Unfortunately, we expect to see continued mental health provider shortages into 2023 and beyond, with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing predicting that the demand for providers by 2025 may outstrip supply of psychiatrists by up to 15,600 psychiatrists.
Those gaps are creating wait times of up to seven weeks and additional access issues. But we predict we’ll also see a rise in solutions to address those issues. MIND 24-7 is one solution with a value-based delivery model that addresses acute mental health issues in convenient 24/7 locations. Plus, despite the provider shortage, MIND 24-7 continues to successfully hire outstanding clinical staff. In fact, we’ve hired more than 400 people over the past year in our clinics. Our dynamic culture and competitive benefits package (which includes excellent healthcare benefits, continuing education, free snacks and more) attract talented people who are eager to make a difference.
Other solutions we predict will be seen in 2023 include improvements to the insurance reimbursement system for mental health care, accelerated recruitment and training of providers (including mental health nurse practitioners), increased access to telehealth, and collaborative care models that connect a person’s physical and mental health care providers.
5. Continued Focus on Healthy Equity
With significant disparities in mental health access and coverage among racial and socioeconomic groups, we believe we will see health equity in more public health conversations.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health says that ethnic and racial minorities often suffer from poor mental health outcomes due to the cultural stigma and lack of access to mental health care services.
The result: Hispanic and African American adults in the U.S. received mental health services at just half the rate of white Americans last year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Moreover, minorities face additional challenges with an underrepresentation of racial and ethnic diversity among mental health care providers. These are all challenges that demand more conversations and solutions.
Entering 2023 with Optimism
Mental health providers and those seeking their care face a year filled with both challenges and opportunities. Fortunately, the national conversation around mental health has evolved to a place where we are identifying problems and working together on solutions rather than sweeping them under the rug. We are optimistic that in the next 12 months, we will see improvements in mental health care quality, education, access, and equity.
Moreover, we predict that MIND 24-7 will help lead the way this year. In 2023, we plan to expand the number of clinics in Phoenix and grow in other markets as well, bringing high-quality walk-in mental health care to more people across the country.
Sources: health.harvard.edu, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, sleepfoundation.org