Teladoc Health has released findings from its latest mental health data highlighting how the persistent issues of 2020 – including the economic, health, environmental and societal crises – are impacting the mental health of Americans, and showing how virtual care is stepping up to meet the growing need.
While there are consistencies with previously published studies demonstrating surging demand for mental health services among Gen Z and Millennials, use of Teladoc Health’s mental health services are now also being used at record rates by groups who have not been known for embracing mental health care in the past.
Virtual mental health care use broadens across ages, genders and socioeconomic backgrounds
Women have long been a mainstay of mental health visits, but total mental health virtual care visits for men have been outpacing women both in year-over-year growth and 2020 monthly growth, up 79% since January vs 75%1, for women. In addition, while Gen Z has seen the largest year-over-year growth rate, now accounting for 14% of total mental health visits, all age groups have been seeking mental health care at an increased rate. Especially notable are patients over 65, who have seen their visits increase 16% since June.
Additionally, a previously underserved demographic for mental health – the Medicaid population – is seeing significant growth, with the number of Medicaid members with access to Teladoc mental health telemedicine services more than doubling year-over-year. Many of these individuals are among those with significant and chronic medical issues, unmet health needs and the most likely to have been hit hard by the recent pandemic.
“The stress of the pandemic and the social issues we’ve been experiencing have led to a dramatic increase in people reaching out and seeking timely mental health support,” said Dr. Gustavo Kinrys, VP Teladoc Mental Health. “In parallel with this surging need, we’re witnessing growing comfort with virtual care, especially among older adults, giving many individuals who may not have sought mental health care in the past an extraordinary opportunity to put themselves on the right path to better health.”
Diagnoses shift as health, economic and social issues persist
While the current social environment has had a profound impact on the need for mental health, it has also driven shifts in the types of diagnoses being made. As people spend more time at home and without their typical support groups, diagnoses are changing in some expected and some unexpected ways.Men are seeking care at a higher rate for family and relationship issues than women, with year-over-year visits up 5.5X among men versus 4.2X among women. 2 Growing rates of alcohol and substance abuse are being noted in women, who now make up 38% of those diagnosed compared with 24% in 2019. 3 Gen Z and Millennials continue to face growing anxiety issues, now comprising 58% of anxiety and adjustment anxiety disorders diagnoses since March, compared to 53% for the same diagnoses the year prior.4
“What’s particularly difficult for everyone right now, but specifically for the younger generations, is that there is no clear end game,” explained Dr. Kinrys. “However, we know that getting the mental health care at the right time can have a significantly positive impact on individuals, and it’s our hope that by having multiple avenues of support people will find the courage to reach out, to talk, and to get the help that they need, on their terms.”
For more information, please visit http://go.teladochealth.com/2020-world-mental-health-day/
About Teladoc Health
Teladoc Health is transforming how people access and experience healthcare. Recognized as the world leader in virtual care, Teladoc Health directly delivers millions of medical visits across 175 countries each year through the Teladoc Health Medical Group and enables millions of patient and provider touchpoints for thousands of hospitals, health systems and physician practices globally. Ranked Best in KLAS for Virtual Care Platforms in 2020, Teladoc Health leverages more than a decade of expertise and real-time insights to meet the growing virtual care needs of consumers, healthcare professionals, employers and health plans. For more information, please visit teladochealth.com or follow @TeladocHealth on Twitter.