Truth About Mental Health Services

Truth About Mental Health Services

October 2022

Mount Sinai South Nassau “Truth in Medicine” Poll: Many Long Islanders Struggle to Find Needed Mental Health Service

  • Poll shows that even those with insurance coverage have difficulty accessing care

More than one-third of Long Islanders who sought mental health services found it challenging to find a provider of care, even though nearly all had health insurance to cover most of the cost, according to the latest Mount Sinai South Nassau “Truth in Medicine” Poll, sponsored by Bethpage Credit Union.

According to the poll results, anxiety, depression, social isolation, and fear of contracting COVID-19 are the prevalent issues among those who have accessed professional mental health care services since the pandemic began.

The poll results give emphasis to the cause of National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month, which is being observed nationwide throughout October, to raise awareness of the urgent need for accessible and affordable mental health screenings and services.

In this survey of 600 Long Island residents, 92 percent have active health insurance policies. Of those respondents who have sought care, 36 percent said getting the help they wanted or needed was “challenging,” predominantly due to difficulty scheduling an appointment or lack of coverage by their health insurers.

A significant percentage of poll respondents also feel that institutions like government, municipalities, and schools could be doing more to increase the scope of mental health services in the community. Forty-six percent said that the government does not do enough to help, while just 32 percent say that it does.

“We have a crisis on Long Island when it comes to the lack of mental health services,” says Adhi Sharma, MD, President of Mount Sinai South Nassau. “The poll results strongly indicate that providers are working at or beyond capacity. This calls for an aggressive expansion of mental health screening, prevention, and intervention services to meet the present and future demand for them.”

Since the start of the pandemic, about 84 percent of mental health providers have seen an increase in demand for treatment of anxiety, compared with 74 percent a year ago, while 72 percent of providers have seen an increase in demand for treatment of depression, compared with 60 percent in 2020.

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