The shortage of psychiatrists and mental health providers combined with the increased demand for mental health care is only adding to the burden of ongoing public health crises tied to mental health care, substance abuse, and the pandemic. Providers are burned out and bogged down. Trying to manage established patients while also fielding calls from people facing depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and trauma – perhaps the first time – has become nearly impossible.

Yet, clinicians are finding small ways to make their professional lives a bit more manageable. Here, Psycom Pro board members and mental health providers share what they are doing to maintain their practices during this period of unprecedented demand.

Mental Health Providers Share One Way They Are Managing High Demand

Dr. Robert Twillman“By working from home two days a week, seeing only telehealth patients, I can save myself an hour a day of drive time and fit in two more patients each week. It may not seem like much, but it has really helped reduce my waitlist.”

–Robert Twillman, PhD

 

 

Danielle Hairston, MD“I hired an assistant during the pandemic because I was becoming overwhelmed by the increased demand. This is a privilege and the best step for my self-preservation. I have also put a limit on accepting new patients. My established patients have a greater need.”

–Danielle Hairston, MD

See also, Dr. Hairston’s take on the recent American Psychiatric Association’s apology regarding racism in the field.

 

Paula A. Madrid, PsyD“I have had to rely on my associates much more than ever to take care of cases that I know they are well prepared to handle. I supervise as needed but they are really top notch! There are not enough hours in the day and the practice grows and grows!”

–Paula A Madrid, PsyD

More from Dr. Madrid on the rise, and management of, vicarious trauma in mental health providers.

 

Caroline Buzanko, PhD“I did have to hire another assistant to help manage the influx. For my own personal voicemail, I indicated I cannot return calls for at least 48 hours.”

–Caroline Buzanko, PhD

 

 

Clay Jackson, MD“Doing telehealth visits during time slotted for administrative work. It is not sustainable for the long haul, but it has helped us get through some increased demand.”

–W. Clay Jackson, MD, DipTh

 

 

Andrew Penn“Similar to Dr. Jackson [above], my residents are having to see patients in admin time over telehealth. At the VA, we are also leaning heavily on our virtual groups for the more psychosocial aspect of patient care so that prescriber time can be more focused on medicine.”

–Andrew Penn, MS, NP, PMHNP-BC

More from Andrew on the potential of psychedelic-assisted therapy to help future patients.

 

Margaret Foster“As a learning specialist working mostly with students with executive functioning problems at the moment, my situation may be a little different… Clients that I have had for a while, and who know their strategies often need only some check-in time, so I change their appointments from 50 minutes to 30 minutes, which does the job.  I charge 2/3 of my full session rate. In addition, at times, I am able to pair up clients who are the same age and working on the same skills. It doesn’t happen often, but so much of the skill deficits I’m seeing now are so stress/working memory-based, I find they are happy to discover that someone else is struggling with the same thing.”

–Margaret Foster, M.A.Ed

More from Margaret on how the pandemic is affecting executive function and working memory in students and how to assess students with ADHD during the pandemic.

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Last Updated: Mar 25, 2021