Mental health services in high demand, but they don't come cheap

More people than ever are seeking mental health services in Tippecanoe County, but many of them are struggling to pay for therapy.

Posted: Jan 26, 2021 5:28 PM
Updated: Jan 27, 2021 6:52 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — More people than ever are seeking mental health services, but many of them are struggling to pay for therapy. 

"We had a lot of our current patients who are really, really struggling with paying their co-pays or their deductibles, or affording therapy in general," says Dr. Amanda McKinney, director of Modern Mental Health in West Lafayette.

McKinney says Greater Lafayette does not have enough providers to meet the need for mental health services — an issue that has worsened over the course the pandemic.

"I actually have doubled my staff within the last five or six months and we still have a 60 or 70 person wait list we just can't keep up with the demand," she says. 

It's an issue across the United States. More than half of adults reported negative mental health due to stress over the coronavirus, according to a July survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The collision of mental illness and job loss can often lead to a worst-case scenario: homelessness.

Valley Oaks Health has seen an increasing demand for homeless services over the past several years and especially during the pandemic, says Brent Clemenz, senior director of clinical services at Valley Oaks.

"The programs that we have that focus on individuals who are struggling with homlessness has increasd int henumber of staff we've needed by about 40 to 50 percent over the past couple of years," he says. 

Mental health services at Valley Oaks are also stretched to the max, Clemenz said. 

"We have probably some of the highest numbers of current clients that we've had ever and those referrals are not stopping they continue to come in."

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