Though May is the mental health awareness month, the topic is under discussion all year long. Mental health substantially affects the quality of life, including your physical health and productivity.
CDC states that one in five Americans suffers from a mental disorder or illness. Mental health, if not more, is just as important as physical health. More people have started paying attention to their mental well-being by destigmatizing mental disorders and illnesses.
In recent years, but especially after COVID-19, the demand for better mental health services has significantly increased. Despite the devastating impact of the pandemic on both physical and mental healthcare services, there have been many positive developments in psychiatry.
Loss of loved ones, income, and the general air of uncertainty have created new demands, challenges, and opportunities for the psychiatric industry. This article aims to help you understand the recent trends in psychiatry and mental health services. Let’s dive in!
Professionals in Mental health
What would you want to do if you have an infection or any other medical condition? You would see a doctor, right? Likewise, when you need assistance with mental health, you would want to meet a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist. With millions of patients, there is a shortage of professional mental health providers. In 2018 Merritt Hawkins’ report showed that for each 100,000 Americans, there are only nine psychiatrists available at any time.
To combat this shortage, the healthcare industry has started looking beyond the conventional professionals in mental healthcare. Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioners (DNP-PMHNP) are trained nurses who assess and treat people with psychiatric disorders while promoting a better mind-body connection among patients.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program has been producing high-quality nurses who specialize in diverse fields, mental healthcare being one. From providing self-care assistance to running assessments, diagnosing and treating mental illness, DNP-PMHNP can perform most of the psychiatrist’s tasks. Most DNP-PMHNP can also prescribe medicine. Because of the high demand for DNP-PMHNP, many nurses have gone from online BSN to DNP. About 4.7% of the 325,000 nurse practitioners (NPs) have primary certification in Psychiatric-Mental health. Since the demand for DNP-PMHNP is rising, the figure is bound to grow.
Integrative Approach to Mental Healthcare
Understanding mental health issues requires a subjective perspective. It is difficult to use one key for all locks and expect them to open; variety in people requires a variety in approach. The integrative approach uses multiple routes in psychotherapy to achieve the primary goal. The extensive and flexible nature of the approaches increases effectiveness. If a different technique works better for a different client with a somewhat similar set of problems, the psychotherapist switches the method. According to research, 85% of therapists use multiple therapeutic traditions when treating clients.
The integrative approach takes several factors into account: client history, personality, biology, environment, and behavior.
Since clients are more in control of how the course of action unravels, it results in better satisfaction points.
Technology has become our strong companion. Unsurprisingly, it has infiltrated the world of psychiatry too. The market is filled with feel-good, self-help and therapy apps. They help you track your moods and medicines and connect you to the best mental health providers over long distances. Due to COVID, the apps have become even more popular. CNBC reported that for the first time in April 2020, the 20 most popular mental well-being apps hit a 4 million first-time download record. This technology lets the user have more control over their mental health record-keeping with little to no investment.
Moreover, technological innovations record data accurately, which is essential when prescribing medicines. Biology plays an integral part in your mental health. Medical-grade armbands assist you to keep track of vital information, i.e. heart rate, which might be of value for better diagnosis. According to a pilot study, it is possible to diagnose depression with 90% accuracy by observing a person’s heart rate for 24 hours.
Psychiatrists and therapists often ask questions to help understand your needs and what type of medicines to prescribe. The questioning process can be made easier because of the tech innovations.
Alternative Treatment Approaches
Many people have adopted the idea of “self-care” to mitigate the symptoms of mental health illnesses. Allowing yourself to take breaks and retreat to manage and prevent high-stress situations or feeling overwhelmed can offer short-term benefits.
Most people opt for a spa day or spend time doing activities they find relaxing, such as baking or crafting. The idea is to disconnect from the busy world temporarily and take care of yourself. Yoga and meditation can also help achieve the mentioned purposes, not just to improve mental health but also physical and physiological well-being.
Diet and nutrition have been under focus lately. While the food you eat can not solve hormonal imbalance—an influencing factor in mental well-being—,it certainly can help alleviate the symptoms.
Moreover, since alternative approaches can encompass anything, many have opted for religious counseling. But you don’t have to worry if you don’t associate with religion because animal-assisted therapy has got your back. Many people have found working with animals or having emotional support animals as a great way to deal with emotional difficulties. Who wouldn’t love to hug their golden retriever or their purring cat when they feel overwhelmed?
It’s important to remember that alternative options don’t treat mental health disorders but rather help you control them to better manage your emotions and negative feelings or behaviors.
The Rise of Telehealth
COVID crisis got you locked at home, and you have your therapy session scheduled next Monday? No problem! You can get distance therapy, thanks to technology! Telehealth has made lives easier for many. Busy people who find traveling (to therapy or psychiatrists sessions) very difficult to squeeze in their schedules can use telehealth. Since the COVID-19, the industry has evolved exponentially.
Not just telehealth but online communities have also been trending on Reddit and Facebook groups where people find support and feel like a part of something. It feels easier to work on yourself when your problems are validated and your efforts to talk about them encouraged. Online communities are becoming just as popular as on-ground support groups. Often meeting people online who have recovered or are recovering well strengthens hope and eases the process.
In A Nutshell
Mental health is an important topic and needs to be discussed regularly. As an ever-evolving world, psychiatry has adopted technological developments to make record-keeping and communication easier. Technology has also made healthcare flexible and available over long distances. The goal to study and treat mental illness at its core has helped develop and diversify treatment options. Because of the demand for mental health assistance, the increase in task shifting to nurses practitioner has resulted in quality recruitments in healthcare.