Rising costs and lack of therapists: Generation Z struggles to afford mental health care | Psychological health

yAzmin Casillas, 23, describes her mental health struggles as “very abnormal”. She was diagnosed with autism, borderline personality disorder, depression and anxiety. She also struggles to form long-term memories. “There are cycles where things go well, but the moment I hit the depression slump, my life and everything I do goes into a cliff,” she says.

She knows she needs a therapist and good medication: “I’m pretty sure if I could get medication to deal with type 2 bipolar disorder and general anxiety my life would improve dramatically: I wouldn’t have to worry so much or anticipate depression cycles so often and I wouldn’t feel Paralyzed by so many adult choices I have to make.”

Casillas used to get mental health treatment through the foster care system, but was left alone after she turned 21. Now a first-year college student in Nebraska, she lacks health insurance and can’t afford care. “Finding a good therapist would be expensive, maybe $500-$600 a month where I live,” she says, “not including any potential prescriptions.” To get through this, she relies on her fiancé for emotional support – “It helps ManyBut most days it’s hard to even get out of bed.”

Casillas is part of a group of young people who report higher rates of mental illness than previous generations but are unable to get the help they need.

According to federal data, between 2008 and 2019, the number of adolescents between 12 and 17 years old who reported having at least one major depressive episode was almost doubledSuicide rates are higher among 10-24-year-olds 47%.

a january study By McKinsey, Generation Z respondents found that older adults were two to three times more likely to report feeling ’emotional distress’ than they were to contemplate or attempt suicide between late 2019 and late 2020. The study found that Generation Z was the least likely age group. To report seeking treatment for a mental health professional, in part because of its perceived high cost.

“It’s weird, you might think that with more people talking about it the cost will come down, but it just seems to get more expensive over time,” Casillas says.

citalopram pills
The drug brings another cost to the treatment. Photo: Rex

young people who be The insured spend more. Although people under the age of 25 make up 36% of the US population, they contributed 42% of all health plan-related spending on mental health and substance abuse treatment in 2020, according to new data. From the Employee Benefits Research Institute.

Economist Paul Fronstein, author of the study, said that while more employers added mental health coverage to their benefits, costs did not always go down. “More and more employers are shifting individual health plans from low to high tolerance [the amount you have to pay before the insurance kicks in]. This would increase your personal spending on mental health,” he told The Guardian.

newly National Survey of Americans in Therapy By Verywell Mind found that patients spent an average of $178 a month out of their own pocket on treatment fees alone — plus $40 a month for medication. But while Generation Z is more receptive to treatment than older generations, the survey found that 57% said they might have to quit treatment if their costs increased, and 48% said they provide treatment thanks to financial help from someone else.

Amy Morin, licensed social worker and editor-in-chief of Verywell Mind, said the increased demand for treatment has restricted the supply of therapists.

“A lot of therapists are overwhelmed,” she told the Guardian. Another issue with low pay: “As a therapist, I can sometimes say that the reimbursement rates from insurance companies are too low for therapists to pay their bills, so a lot of therapists only take cash, which leads to a shortage of a lot of people who have insurance “.

This problem is acutely felt in less densely populated areas. “Sometimes insurance companies may have two processors in the network within a 100-mile radius. So someone may find that these two processors have very long waiting lists because it only takes one or two companies to get a huge list of employees that they all have Same insurance, and they all compete for the same therapists,” said Maureen. “Or maybe you’d prefer someone who specializes in something specific like OCD, but the closest therapists in the network may be hundreds of miles away.”

A similar dynamic applies to psychiatrists: 2014 study by the Journal of the American Psychiatric Medical Association found that nearly half of psychiatrists do not accept insurance because of low reimbursement rates. Psychiatrists also have less incentive to deal with patients with complex mental illnesses, according to a report by Bloomberg have found.

For young people who don’t have the money to treat their mental illness, the alternative is more or less DIY. “A lot of Gen Z people deal with it through nihilism and escaping into social media, which only exacerbates matters further,” Casillas says. “However, most students and people close to me seem to rely on a support network of friends, relatives and loved ones, while keeping track of their minds and taking mental health days when needed.”

Casillas hopes that one day she will be able to land a job with mental health benefits: “I chose to major in secondary education specifically so that I could look for jobs after graduation with a health service package that includes mental health.”

For now, though, there’s not much to do but you have to wait there. “I can’t even say I really manage. Just trying to move forward and hope for the best until I graduate from college and hopefully get a job before the next cycle of depression begins.”

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