What is Digital's Potential in Addressing the Looming Mental Health Crisis

Before the pandemic, the statistics around the nation’s mental health were jarring.  On any given day, about 20% of the adult U.S. population were experiencing some degree of mental health or substance abuse related concern. 

However, with the prolonged uncertainty, financial stress, and isolation related to the pandemic, those numbers became exponentially more worrisome: now 40% of U.S. adults suffer from some mental health concern. Add to that, nearly 10% of adults and 25% of young adults have thought about suicide in the past 30 days. 

We need to do better. We have to do better.

It’s become clear the statistics aren’t going to improve if we don’t find new, more scalable solutions to the challenges at hand.

These statistics inspired a conversation between Providence’s Vice President of Mental Health Strategy and Population Health Management, Roger Dowdy, and Israel Niesen, the CEO of Factored around the ballooning mental health crisis, and the ways digital can expand access to care.

Here are some highlights of the conversation. 

A Perfect Storm.

The pandemic itself, complexity of provider networks, reimbursement challenges, and the supply of qualified behavioral health professionals have created a perfect storm for patients, making it near impossible to gain access to the necessary care. That said, it’s the fact that the demand for mental health related care has far eclipsed the existing national capacity to address ever-increasing patient needs that really stands out. A lack of “supply” of trained professionals has made it near impossible to scale behavioral healthcare to overwhelming patient demand for this type of care.

Artificial Intelligence(AI) Can Alleviate The Strain.

Digital can inspire new approaches to alleviate the shortage of mental health professionals - the use of AI being one example. AI can augment the services and reach of trained behavioral health professionals and even leverage data to make it more effective and actionable for providers and patients.

Tune in to the full conversation below to learn more about the potential of digital technology and AI in particular, in addressing the supply and demand challenge associated with the growing mental health crisis. Or, check out our team’s Digital Perspective Report to learn about more of digital’s potential in addressing the ongoing crisis. 

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