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Virtual behavioral healthcare skyrocketed last year as COVID-19 stressed US mental health

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American Well Dive Brief:

Virtual behavioral health visits surged in the first half of 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated mental health needs, according to a new analysis by Milliman and Well Being Trust.

All behavioral health visits, both in-person and virtual, oscillated within 20% of 2019 levels from January to August last year, even as in-person visits for other medical needs nosedived, Milliman found.

Before 2020, 1% or fewer of all behavioral health visits were conducted virtually. However, in May through June last year, as much as 75% of behavioral health visits among commercially insured patients were done via telemedicine, and up to about half for Medicare beneficiaries in April through July.

Dive Insight:

Undertreatment of mental health concerns was a huge problem in the U.S. even before COVID-19, but the prolonged period of stress and loneliness, coupled with growing unemployment and economic uncertainty, exacerbated mental and behavioral health needs.

According to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , symptoms of anxiety and depression rose considerably between April and June last year compared to the same period in 2019. Overall, 41% of respondents reported at least one adverse behavioral health condition related to […]

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