Happy Mother’s Day?

May 09, 2021

For all who have survived the last 14 months unscathed, or who are able today to be reunited with a Mom or Grandma that you have not seen for many months – Happy Mother’s Day!  But for too many, who have lost a parent, grandparent or child – this will be a tough day and we grieve with you.

And then there are those who are suffering the anxiety, depression or addictions which have been exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic – the isolation, the fear of the unknown, and the feelings of loss and frustration.  This is Mental Health Awareness Month and the editorial in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch is full of completely terrifying statistics!

Mental Health Awareness Month (Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial, May 6, 2021)

Among 12-17 year olds – a 31% increase in mental heath ER visits since 2020;  among a sample of college students – 50% screened positive for anxiety and/or depression; among the same sample – 83% said their mental health had negatively impacted their academic performance; in a CDC survey of the 18-24 year old group 63% report symptoms of anxiety or depression with 25% acknowledging increased substance use to cope and 25% saying they had seriously considered suicide. 

And the figures from Virginia are no less disturbing!  The questions are two fold – do we have the capacity (both in provider agencies and in workforce) to provide the supports/services needed in the schools, in the community and is the planned service array that is scheduled to roll out this summer the right selection of services to meet the need. 

The planning for the redesign or enhancement (now BRAVO) of the mental health services system began long before COVID19 – has the landscape changed in 14 months?  Will BRAVO meet the need and is there sufficient resilience in the damaged provider community to adapt to new services and higher demand?