Mental Health Care Job Outlook 2022
How the Pandemic Created More Demands for Mental Healthcare Workers
As we approach the beginning of the third year living through the Covid-19 pandemic, it is clear that Americans mental health has never been more important. Anxiety, depression, and relationship challenges are among some of the most reported conditions people have grappled with during this difficult time. Mental healthcare workers did more than show up for the job at hand. They supported and guided patients during some of their most trying times. And now as the virus continues to fluctuate in its transmission and degrees of severity, mental healthcare workers continue to be in high demand, supporting patients through this unpredictable and unprecedented time. Reports are predicting that is something that will not be changing anytime soon. So, what does the landscape of mental healthcare look like for its physicians in 2022? We’re taking a closer look and sharing what you can expect in the year to come.
Mental Healthcare Has Become a Billion Dollar Market
In 2021 the mental health market generated $397.4 billion in the US. By 2030, experts forecast that the global health market is set to reach US$ 539.97 billion. The numbers are striking, but understandable given the context of the world people have been living in for the past three years. Today about 1 in 5 people are suffering from depression. While genetics, stress, and brain chemistry contribute to the condition of depression, the unpredictable pandemic has exacerbated much of it. In fact, in just 2020 the World Health Organization estimated that more than 264 million people of all ages were affected by depression. Mental health continues to grow and show the need for healthcare workers.
Mental Healthcare Jobs are Growing Quickly
The Monthly Labor Review reports that one of the fastest growing job markets projected to grow in 2022 is the field of healthcare. More specifically, mental healthcare is going to be in high demand. Some of the reasons for this growth are attributed to the rise in substance abuse, behavioral disorders, marriage and family counseling and a need for overall mental health support. Another contributing factor is that more insurance policies are covering services to support some of the counseling and mental health conditions than in previous years. With this new coverage, people are becoming more open to the idea of getting help when they need it, instead of feeling like support may not be an option because it may not be in their budget.
A closer look at what is driving the growth behind the mental healthcare
1. The Mental Health of Employees Has Become More Important to Employers
Over the course of the past three years, the typical workplace setting has changed drastically both in terms of where people perform their jobs as well as the flexibility of their job’s schedule. This is due to the complications posed by the pandemic, whether it was because of details such as keeping an office up to date with the ever-changing health protocols or accommodating an individual’s personal family needs while they are called to support their children in remote learning. Additionally, employers have become more sensitive and empathetic to employee burnout in light of the challenges they are facing. One way employers are supporting their employees is through mental healthcare. By supporting employees and giving them the tools to feel better and take better care of their personal mental health, employees will not burn out as much and will ultimately be able to perform better while feeling happier. Today, the majority of employers are covering mental healthcare needs in their policies, while some companies are even providing their own plans for mental healthcare support and overall wellness. These progressions are just a few ways more mental healthcare jobs are showing up in places they were not before ultimately creating more job opportunities.
2. Kids’ Mental Health Needs Are Getting More Attention
Between remote learning, hybrid schedules and quarantining from Covid exposure, the complications of the pandemic have been very trying on children. Some children were forced to learn how to use software in order to access their schooling while others without school funds and materials could not access school at all. And for children without remote learning options, staying at home with parents who had to work full-time sometimes meant a day without learning at all and without any parental supervision. Living and learning conditions such as these have been detrimental to children’s mental health. In January, Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, reported a 300% increase in the number of behavioral health emergency admissions since April 2020. Physicians reported that the mental health of children has been under attack for over a year. And for teens, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts during the months of February and March of 2021 to be on the rise with teen girls, 50% higher and teen boys 4%. During the months of April to October 2020, hospitals in the US reported a 31% increase in 12- to 17-year-old kids seeking help for their mental health, and a 24% increase for kids ages 5 to 11. Covid created an immediate and astonishing need for hospital beds leaving little to no inpatient psychiatric beds for children with emergency psychiatric needs. With more attention being turned to children’s mental health in light of the pandemic, more physicians are being sought after to support kids.
3. Virtual and telemedicine Create Mental Health Accessibility
Almost all doctors’ offices are able to provide telemedicine options now due to the complications created by Covid. While options for telehealth in psychiatry were previously available before Covid, the availability for telehealth jumped from 80%-96% in the year 2020. 100% of psychiatry physicians reported a willingness to use the tool to help patients in any way they could. Now with greater convenience to patients and more flexibility as to how healthcare can provide their patient’s therapy, mental healthcare is becoming more approachable and more available to those who need it most. It also offers healthcare workers a more flexible option to carry out the therapies they may otherwise had to provide in person.
Whether it’s a growing understanding and recognition of the mental health challenges people are facing today or an increased accessibility and privacy that had not been previously offered, mental healthcare is in high demand making the job of mental healthcare workers in high demand as well. And it will continue to be needed more so than ever as people try to navigate the new landscape of socialization and pandemic life as they know it.