Demand for mental health services continues to grow as Triangle providers work to ease pressure

DURHAM, NC (WNCN) — Briana Yarber has worked in the mental health field for about 10 years.

In May 2020, she took a chance and opened her business, BJY Counseling, just months after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“I consider it divine intervention. I really want to help people of color. I really want to help people in the LGBTQ+ community,” Yarber said.

“I have seen clients with increased depression, increased substance abuse, anxiety [and] a lot of health anxiety,” she added.

According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, psychologists report a sharp increase in demand for anxiety and depression treatment compared to 2020.

“The mental health field is definitely overwhelmed,” Yarber said.

The psychological association’s survey also shows that psychologists who said they received more referrals in 2021 saw that number double compared to 2020.

According to the survey, almost seven out of ten waiting lists for psychologists have lengthened since the start of the pandemic.

“I had to stop keeping a waiting list because I said ‘it’s impossible,'” Yarber said.

Yarber said she and her fellow therapists worked together to help ease the tension.

“Don’t be afraid to email or call someone and say ‘hey, do you have a co-worker who is accepting new clients,'” she said.

“Because I’m going to tell them real quick ‘hey, my friend has two openings. They’re awesome. Email them right now.’ I’ll tell them ‘I send you.’ So we network and connect like that to help people too,” Yarber explained.

Another thing Yarber said to keep in mind is to check with your insurance company to see who they cover.

Additionally, she said telehealth can be a good tool to help broaden the search for a mental health care provider.

About Evelyn C. Heim

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