Uptick in psychiatric illness during pandemic spurs telemedicine revolution - (ABC News via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Doctors and health systems like the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) are implementing solutions, including telehealth, to address the root causes of both the increasing mental illness crisis and a lack of access and providers, ABC News reported on Wednesday.

  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of adults reporting symptoms of anxiety and depression from August 2020 to February 2021, rose from 36.4% to 41.5%, as reported unmet mental health needs increased from 9.2% to 11.7%.

  • "The main reason outpatient visits increased so dramatically last year was due to the increased use of telehealth," said Thomas Smith, chief medical officer at OMH.

  • "To ensure that individuals receiving mental health services were able to access treatment safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, OMH issued a regulatory waiver to allow all providers to use telehealth services," he added.

  • OMH has approved 1182 sites to continue using telehealth after the emergency order expires, with Smith noting that "this will ensure increased access to outpatient mental health services."

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