About 40% of mental health and addiction treatment organizations say that without additional federal relief, they are likely to close by the end of 2021, according to a recent survey conducted by the National Council for Behavioral Health.
Although eye-opening, the statistic is an improvement from last summer. National Council says it saw a 15% increase in the number of organizations who say they could survive financially for more than two years in the current climate compared to another survey it conducted in August 2020. More than three-quarters of respondents say they've received more than $100,000 in funding through federal programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program or Provider Relief Fund, with 87% saying that the funds allowed their organizations to restore staffing and/or programming.
The survey also indicated that even as providers work to keep their doors open, there has been no shortage of demand for treatment:
- 67% of organizations say they have seen increased demand for their services over the past three months, which is 15% higher than August 2020
- 64% of organizations that provide substance use disorder treatment say use of their services has increased in the past three months, up 13% from August
- 63% of survey respondents say they have observed an increase in demand for youth services
- 68% have had to cancel or reschedule appointments or turn away potential patients within the past three months. Waitlists have grown by an average of 7.2%
The combination of increasing demand for services and continued uncertainty many providers still have over their future indicate sustained financial support will be necessary, National Council president and CEO Chuck Ingoglia said in a statement.
“We face a second public health crisis on top of the pandemic: a nationwide mental health crisis that will last for years to come,” Ingoglia said. “Relief funding thus far has been enormously important. But relief funding is finite – demand for critical mental health and substance use treatment, bolstered by COVID-19, is not.”