Mental health crisis is worse since the pandemic
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic there’s another crisis emerging in mental health. Lawmakers are working to address this complicated and wide-reaching problem.
“People are currently in a mental health crisis, we are coming off the pandemic,” said Laurie Schegel.
Mental illness was already a problem in Louisiana before the COVID-19 pandemic and today it’s much worse. Now health experts are seeing an increase in the number of patients looking for resources.
Forbes ranks Louisiana No. 11 among the worst states for mental health care.
“We are struggling as people, we need to take a deep dive in Louisiana and know how to better help citizens,” Schegel said.
Schegel is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Mental Health representative and is a licensed professional counselor.
She says a lack of professional care and services is just another hurdle for the state to cross.
The National Alliance on Mental Health Illness report states that in Louisiana over 700 thousand adults have a mental health condition and some Louisianans may be putting off getting the help they need because they’re afraid they can’t afford to pay for the services.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, Medicaid covers both mental health and substance abuse treatment and the Subcommittee on Mental Health adds for insured patients, out-of-pocket costs may be intimidating.
“We need to properly address it, not throw the kitchen sink at it,” says Schegel. “We need to really target issues and make changes.”
Changes that can help patients get the help they need where they live.
Millions of Louisianans live in a community that does not have qualified mental health professionals. However, Schegel says it’s not just about access, but a lack of funding and resources as well.
“I wish it was a silver bullet but is all-encompassing,” Schegel says.
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