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U.S. adults face distress, unequal mental health care access during the COVID-19 era

U.S. adults experienced considerable psychological distress and adverse mental health effects as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic according to a study at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and Columbia University Irving Medical Center.

To characterize the psychological distress experienced, determine the level of outpatient mental health care, and describe patterns of in-person versus telemental health care, the researchers studied the responses of adults from the Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Component, a nationally representative survey of over 85,000 people. Psychological distress was measured with a 6-point scale range and outpatient mental health care use was determined via computer-assisted personal interviews.

The rate of serious psychological distress among adults increased from 3.5 percent to 4.2 percent from 2018 to 2021. While outpatient mental health care increased overall as well -- from 11.2 percent to 12.4 percent, the rate among adults with serious psychological distress decreased from 46.5 percent to 40.4 percent. Young adults (aged 18 to 44 years significantly increased outpatient mental health care but this pattern was not observed for the middle-aged (aged 45 to 64 years) and older adults (aged >65 years). Similarly, more employed adults reported outpatient mental health treatment care compared to the unemployed. 

In 2021, 33 percent of mental health outpatients received at least one video visit. The likelihood of receiving in-person, telephone, or video mental health care varied across sociodemographic groups; percentages of video care were higher for younger adults than for middle-aged or older adults, women compared with men, college graduates compared with adults with less education, the seriously distressed, lower-income, unemployed, and rural patients.

Read the whole article here.

  Quelle: medicalnewstoday.com (07.02.2024 - LW)
 
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