A Year in Mental Health Care
Zocdoc Booking Trends Point to More Americans Than Ever Seeking Mental Health Care
Mental health booking trends show substantial rises in pediatric, addiction, couples, and first-time psychotherapy during the evolving COVID-19 pandemic
Data shows that while all other specialties have strongly returned to in-person care, telehealth remains patients’ primary choice when it comes to mental health
“A Year in Mental Health Care” is a comprehensive data analysis of mental health appointment booking trends from January 2021 to January 2022.
The data shows how people are approaching mental health care during a time when demand is exceptionally high: in 2020, as the pandemic evolved, more than 42% of US adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, an increase of 93% over 2019. As the pandemic wore on, Zocdoc saw demand grow, with 11% year-over-year mental health specialty booking growth between 2019 and 2020, and 77% year-over-year growth between 2020 and 2021. In parallel, more public figures than ever have spoken publicly about their mental health struggles — helping to decrease the stigma that has long held many back from seeking care — while online appointment booking supply has grown rapidly.
To explore how Americans are seeking the right kind of care for their mental health needs, and how that has evolved in the past year, Zocdoc analyzed its aggregated mental health appointment booking data from January 2021 to January 2022.
Virtual visits are here to stay
The increased availability of virtual appointments has made mental health care more convenient and accessible during a challenging time. Whether home or away, virtual care is here to stay, and seems likely to remain the way most people receive mental health care; this is a sharp contrast to other specialties, where the future of healthcare is primarily in-person. Zocdoc booking trends revealed that:
- Between January 2021 and January 2022, virtual mental health specialty bookings grew by 74%
- In January 2022, 88% of mental health specialty bookings were virtual
- This is in sharp contrast to all other specialties, excluding mental health, as just 10% of those bookings were virtual in January 2022
Kids are seeking more mental health care than ever
Pediatric depression and anxiety has doubled during the pandemic. Between January 2021 and January 2022, Zocdoc bookings increased dramatically in the following categories, reflecting a focus on care for the youngest Americans.
- Children’s mental health appointment bookings grew by 81%
- Pediatric psychiatric medication review appointment bookings grew by 100%
- Pediatric depression and anxiety appointment bookings grew by 100%
- Adolescent mental health bookings grew by 114%
People are seeking new ways to manage stress and health
As the pandemic has evolved, references to “The Covid-19” weight gain and significant increases in alcohol consumption have become commonplace, and many people are experiencing increased stress, depression, and anxiety. However, a growing number of people are seeking professional help to address addiction, or to manage conditions such as depression and anxiety. Between January 2021 and January 2022:
- Alcoholism related bookings grew by 43%
- Addiction-related appointment bookings grew by 67%
- Disordered eating bookings grew by 53%
- Anxiety related appointment bookings grew by 86%
- Psychotherapy intake / first visit appointment bookings grew by 107%
- Depression related appointment bookings grew by 92%
Families are tackling tough times together
Life has changed dramatically since the onset of the pandemic. The combination of new and more significant stressors, less access to many common stress relieving activities, and fewer interactions with people outside the family have led to conflict among loved ones. A growing number of these people are seeking care. Between January 2021 and January 2022:
- Relationship / couples therapy appointment bookings grew by 146%
- Family therapy appointment bookings grew by 187%
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the fastest-growing therapy type
Different people have long preferred different types of therapy. But in the past year, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), known for helping people change their thinking patterns, has grown in popularity more than any other therapy type. Between January 2021 and January 2022:
- Analytical therapy appointment bookings grew by 36%
- Behavioral therapy appointment bookings grew by 75%
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy appointment bookings grew by 118%
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) appointment bookings grew by 177%
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