Ahead of World Mental Health day on 10th October, Kantar Health, a leading global healthcare data, analytics and research provider, today announced that symptoms related to anxiety have doubled in the United States since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a significant change in attitudes and behaviors of those impacted.
These findings are from Kantar Health’s National Health and Wellness Survey, the largest patient-reported outcomes survey in the world. Kantar Health revealed these findings in a recent episode of Health Heroes, a podcast series aimed to inform and educate life sciences companies on ways to get closer to patients to help drive improved health outcomes.
A ‘sobering’ mental health situation
Symptoms of anxiety can vary, as some patients reported change in sleep or the inability to care for themselves, while others reported forgoing scheduled appointments with their doctor or skipping doses of their medication.
Prior to the pandemic, America had a shortage in psychologists, psychiatrists, behavioral therapists and counselors. Now, with more Americans reporting symptoms related to anxiety, this gap has only been further exacerbated as mental health professionals struggled to meet the demands of the American public.
As such, there needs to be a workforce readjustment and more resources need to be made available for training of mental health professionals to meet the current and future anticipated challenges.
As a result, this will require a multi-year strategy, leaving a gap in the ability to deliver mental health services in the immediate future. To help in the short-term, it is essential that healthcare providers maintain communication with those that are most vulnerable to mental health issues and ensure that they are getting necessary treatment for their symptoms.
“COVID-19 has shined a glaring light on the inequities, disparities and poor funding of the US public health system,” stated Dr. David Nash of Thomas Jefferson University. “Despite this, I am optimistic about the future of the US health care system as it provides us with a once in a century opportunity to self-reflect and make the appropriate changes needed to make our system better and safer for all Americans.”
Kantar Health found that 46% of patients cancelled or delayed their appointments due to COVID-19, with 26% of those cancelling their appointment due to worries around contracting the virus. This can lead to worsening symptoms of chronic illness and increase mental health issues.
To reach patients who have decided to forego their regular appointments, Kantar Health suggests that doctors need to find ways to maintain regular communication with them, such as through the use of telehealth or in-home care. In order to treat these patients, doctors need to promote a “back to prevention” mindset. In this scenario, doctors encourage their patients to resume preventative measures such as mammograms and screenings along with monitoring of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and hypertension.
“Healthcare providers need to proactively communicate with patients to reassure them that it is safe and remind them that it is necessary to seek care,” says Kantar Health Global CEO Lynnette Cooke. “Technology is the key to reaching the increasing number of patients with anxiety symptoms — to deliver critical messages to educate them during the pandemic as well as to provide healthcare services, as in the case with telehealth.”
To listen to the Kantar Health Heroes podcast, please visit, https://kantar-health-heroes.libsyn.com/a-new-approach-to-mental-health-in-the-era-of-covid-19.
About Kantar Health
Kantar Health, a division of Kantar, provides data, analytics and research to the life sciences industry. As real-world evidence and commercialization partners, Kantar Health enables clients to bring safe and effective treatment to patients around the world. The team has expertise across a myriad of therapy areas, including unique thought leadership in oncology and rare diseases. For more information on how to optimize commercial launch plans, demonstrate real-world effectiveness and safety, and build ongoing value substantiation to unlock your full potential, visit www.kantar.com/ health. Kantar helps clients understand people and inspire growth.