In almost every area of the country, businesses have slowed and shut down in response to the pandemic. Social isolation is also taking a toll as more people face the uncertainty of the future. Sadly, the federal government has poured some extra money into hospitals without reserving any funds for other victims of the pandemic; the mentally ill and addicted who desperately need help.
The Cost of Social Isolation
Suicide Rates and overdose numbers have just begun being revealed, but the looks are grim. Millions of Americans are faced with dual diagnosis; they have both an addiction to drugs or alcohol and a mental health disorder they are living with.
A recent study of the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown estimated that nearly 150,000 people could lose their lives from mental illness and addiction. As services ground to a halt and many treatment centers stopped taking in-person clients, many people were left without a lifeline.
30 Organizations Demand Help From Gov’t
Thirty organizations have signed on to a powerful letter demanding for COVID-19 relief for organizations that were left out of the aid packages by Congress. The letter states that 30% of mental health organizations serving American communities have had to turn away their own clients due to budget and resource constraints.
Six out of ten facilities say they will go out of business entirely due to the lack of funds, leaving the possibility of millions of vulnerable people on their own without mental health or addiction care. The organizations, including The National Council for Mental Health and American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, ask that Medicaid payment rates be adjusted to help compensate providers for the loss in revenue and to cover their basic operation costs. Nearly 50% of Medicaid patients have a mental health disorder or addiction disorder, and they are disproportionately people of color from impoverished communities.
The most money distributed to mental health and addiction providers from the CARES Act was $25,000, which would barely pay a yearly salary for one member of the staff. Because of this, it is likely that millions of people with dual diagnosis will be left without help or treatment options, which would likely be a pandemic itself.