'People have been more inclined to reach out': COVID-19 pandemic increases need for therapy sessions

Posted at 3:55 PM, Jan 05, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — For many people, mental health continues to be a struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though the demand for therapy sessions is greater, the ability to pay for it has continued to decrease.

A licensed clinical psychologist says that people's interest in therapy had already started before the pandemic began.

"As it becomes less stigmatized to seek help, people have been more inclined to reach out and find a therapist," said Shannon Sauer-Zavala, an Assistant Professor of Psychology at UK.

But as COVID-19 has continued to keep the country shut down, the need for therapy has gone up.

"All of the uncertainty that comes with not knowing how long this is going to last, uncertainty about job security, food security," Sauer-Zavala said.

And the uncertainty of some people's paychecks has led them to be unable to afford the mental health help they need.

"Cost is really difficult because providers have families and livelihoods too, and they should be able to charge for our services, and so that becomes really tough," she said.

The licensed clinical psychologist suggests alternative ways to help your mental health, such as self-help books, clinical trials, or seeking treatment from a training program for professional students.

"Not everyone needs the one on one therapy to be able to benefit from the psychological interventions."