The Mental Health Crisis Goes Live, The Somber Reality of the Gap in Behavioral Healthcare
November 10, 2017
As you may already know, reports have surfaced that 1 in 5 Americans have a diagnosable mental illness. Of these Americans affected by a mental illness, more than 60% did not receive professional help within the past 12 months. An especially alarming aspect of what can be seen as a growing mental health crisis is the suicide rate of Americans, particularly among today’s youth, a statistic that is climbing in response to a lack of mental health providers. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, suicide has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years. One of the possible explanations of this alarming statistic is the uneven ratio of healthcare providers to clients in need of mental health care.
Broadcasting the Need for Mental Health Care
One of the new features Facebook has rolled out is Facebook Live, a platform that allows users to share with friends and family some of the most poignant moments of their lives, a new baby being born, a wedding shower, in live, real time video. However, a new, more harrowing trend is emerging amongst this new feature. Old and young people alike are taking their lives via live streaming platforms, such as Facebook Live. Nadine Kaslow, the former president of the American Psychological Association says, “Unfortunately we have now seen a growing series of young people and adults committing suicide and showing this on Facebook Live.”
A Cry for Help, Those Affected Go Online
Why the need to broadcast? As most of today’s population are on social networks or utilize other online services, people are sharing more of their lives online. Experts cite live streaming suicide as a cry for help. “[Facebook] Live becomes a lifeline. It opens up the opportunity for people to reach out for support and for people to give support at this time that’s critically important,” says Jennifer Guadagno, Facebook’s lead researcher for suicide prevention. In response, Facebook is Simply put, clients need more mental health care and are just not receiving it. In response, Facebook has plans in the works that connects these people immediately to a hotline or to reach out to a friend. While this is a good tool and will hopefully lessen the suicide rate on Facebook, what if there was a way of providing preventative care before the situation is escalated to that point?
To address this growing epidemic, mental health care professionals need to embrace new tools that allow them to provide urgent treatment to clients at any time, or at any place. Online video platforms and instant chat allows providers to intercept in suicidal situations, and may offer care they need at the time their clients need it the most. Mental health care providers are thinly spread across America. To address the growing demand and need for mental healthcare services, providers are turning to secure, digital solutions that offer more flexibility and convenient ways to access care.
To learn more about how you, as a telemental health provider, may offer an online engagement to provide instant chat and live video to clients, call 888-958-2885 and one of our engagement solution specialists will answer any questions you may have.