Even before the pandemic, there was a growing divide between the demand for mental health care and the existing system to support it. Fast forward nearly two years later, and we’re dealing with a tidal wave of increasing mental health challenges. Organizations everywhere are rising to the challenge, but they’re not quite there yet.
Nine out of 10 employers have expanded mental health benefits in the last year, but upward of three-quarters of the workforce believes their mental health is not well supported. Telehealth and digital solutions are on the rise, but out of more than 20,000 mental health apps in the marketplace, only 6 percent of app companies that claim to have an evidence-based framework have actually published said evidence.
So, what can we do now to make headway on a complex and fragmented problem?
Mental Health Is a Continuum
The reality is that mental wellness is much more than the absence of mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five American adults experience mental illness, with one in 20 experiencing serious mental illness, which can be defined based on a group of specific diagnoses.
Those who have not yet identified their need for help or potentially have subclinical symptoms need a better entry point to mental health support that is highly accessible and easy to use. With the average delay between diagnosing symptoms and receiving treatment being 11 years, it’s safe to say there is still progress to be made with this important issue.
Innately, each and every one of us has what we all call “mental health,” and this will fluctuate in response to our current and past life circumstances. So, while mental health fluctuates, the traditional resources and advice we are given is often only done in a binary state where one is either mentally healthy or mentally ill with few resources for supporting those in between.
Why Mental Health Is a Continuum
While doctors and organizations continue to try and figure out how to catch up to our 11-year delay, what we know now is that mental illness is a continuum that ranges between a state of mental wellness to acute illness. It’s a spectrum, and understanding where activities such as yoga or guided exercises fit versus therapy and in-person treatment is crucial to overcoming the barriers to proper mental health.
Let’s break down the spectrum in more detail; with mental …….