Some Predict a Surge of Mental Health Challenges Alongside Pandemic Aftermath

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

The effects of COVID-19 on physical health around the world are evident—we can count hospitalizations, positive tests, and deaths. However, it is extremely challenging to estimate the effects on mental health as the pandemic continues.

In an article for the American Journal of Public Health, Auerbach and Miller (2020) urge proven efforts be implemented immediately in order to avoid further repercussions, including: “Establishing clear contingencies for those in need of or currently receiving mental health care, including expanding mental health teleservices, strengthening the integration of mental and physical health services, and incorporating mental health first aid and supports into broader recovery strategies. They also include expanding immediate crisis supports such as the Disaster Distress Helpline and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.”

COVID-19 has exposed gaps in our system that have left many vulnerable—particularly communities of color and those with preexisting mental health diagnoses. Each month we can tally calls to domestic abuse and substance abuse hotlines, hospital admissions related to substance abuse or mental health, new prescriptions written and filled, and deaths by suicide. Yet, tracking these symptoms is not enough to stay ahead of the curve—to interrupt the negative implications on mental health, providers need to anticipate and prepare for a surge of patients who need mental health services.

This blog post concludes our series of excerpts from the HealthStream article, As COVID-19 Spreads, So Does Its Impact on Mental Health. Future excerpts will include:

  • Symptoms Pointing to a Mental Health Crisis
  • Underlying Issues Exacerbating Mental Health During Covid-19
  • Stressful Environments Could Lead to Increased Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence
  • Anxiety and Depression Related to Job Loss and Income Insecurity
  • Stress on Healthcare Workers May Lead to Burnout and Poor Mental Health in an Already Fragile Field


Auerbach, J., Miller, B. (2020). COVID-19 Exposes the cracks in our already fragile mental health system. American Journal of Public Health. Vol. 110, Iss. 7, (Jul 2020): 969-970.


Download the full article about the impact of Covid-19 on mental health here.

The Mental Health Imperative

As public understanding of mental health issues and disorders grows, the demand for behavioral health services will continue to increase. This growing market must prepare to serve the more than 40 million Americans (one in five) with a mental health condition—56 percent of them currently do not receive treatment. At HealthStream, we understand that behavioral health services and the required competencies may look a little different from other providers. That’s why some of the largest behavioral health organizations in the country have partnered with HealthStream to mitigate risk, improve staff competence, and increase overall efficiency. Explore our solutions for mental health staff and professionals.

PLEASE NOTE: The information in the article excerpted here was considered current at the time of its publishing. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is an ever-evolving disaster due to new findings, data, and availability of resources. Please refer to the CDC website for the latest detailed information when you need it.

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