Addressing the Global Mental Health Crisis With A Comprehensive Approach!

Author: Keisha Wilson CCS, CPC, CPCO, CRC, CPB, CPMA, AAPC Approved Instructor

The global mental health crisis is a significant issue affecting the world today. The numbers are staggering: mental illness affects an estimated 950 million people worldwide and is the leading cause of disability across all age groups. Moreover, mental health issues are the leading cause of suicide, accounting for over 800,000 deaths annually, per the Worldwide Mental Health Foundation.

The Scope of Mental Illness

In the United States, recent estimates from Johns Hopkins indicate that one in four adults (26%) experience mental illness each year. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in twenty Americans lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, affecting about 13.1 million people. Nearly 8 million children and adolescents in the U.S. suffer from a serious mental illness.  Mental health disorders, such as anxiety, plague millions of adolescents and adults in the United States. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that 6.8 million adults, or 3.1 per cent of the population, are affected by generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and 15 million adults, or 7.1 per cent of the population, are affected by social disorders. Drilling down deeper, anxiety disorders affect 31.9% of teens between 13 and 18 years old. 

Shockingly, 90% of Americans who die by suicide (the second leading cause of death among persons aged 10 to 34) have experienced symptoms of a treatable mental health condition such as depression, anxiety disorders, or other serious mental illnesses. Researchers estimate that half of all chronic mental illnesses begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24.

To meet the demand, certain organizations, such as the Counseling Compact, an interstate compact, or a contract among states, allow professional counsellors licensed and residing in one compact member state to practice in other compact member states without needing multiple licenses. Professional counsellors who meet uniform licensure requirements can quickly obtain a privilege to practice, equivalent to a license to practice counselling in another state. The Compact will help clients by improving continuity of care when clients or counsellors travel or relocate.

Understanding Mental Illness

Mental illness is a term used to describe mental health conditions that impact mood, thinking, and behavior. These disorders can interfere with a person’s ability to relate to others and function daily. Common mental illnesses include:

  • Mood disorders (e.g., depression, bipolar disorder)
  • Psychotic disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder)
  • Anxiety disorders (e.g., generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias)

Anxiety disorder comprises a group of related conditions characterized by excessive fear or worry that present as emotional and physical symptoms. When you review the ICD-10-CM code book or the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition), you will notice the various anxiety disorders listed, which include (to name just a few):

  • generalized anxiety disorder (F41.1)
  • social anxiety disorder (F40.1x)
  • panic disorder (F41.0)
  • separation anxiety disorder (F93.0)
  • phobias (F40.2x)
  • selective mutism and anxiety not otherwise specified (F41.9)

In the U.S., anxiety disorders are the most prevalent, affecting an estimated 48 million people per year (19.1%), followed by mood disorders (9.7%).

Symptoms of Mental Illness

Symptoms vary depending on the type of mental illness but often include:

  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Social withdrawal
  • Emotional numbness
  • Inability to concentrate

Increasing Stress and Anxiety Levels

In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in stress and anxiety levels, alongside a rise in mental health disorders. This crisis is exacerbated by limited access to mental health services in many regions and the ongoing stigma and discrimination towards individuals with mental illness.

In recent times, there has been a significant increase in the number of people seeking psychotherapy services, both in-person and virtually. This surge reflects a growing awareness of mental health’s importance and the accessibility of therapy options. Whether through face-to-face sessions or the convenience of online platforms, individuals are finding it easier than ever to connect with qualified professionals to support their mental well-being. This trend underscores the vital role of psychotherapy in addressing a wide range of emotional and psychological issues in our modern world.

Per CMS, Psychotherapy services (CPT codes 90832-90838) are time-based codes. Start and stop times or total times must be documented for CPT codes 90832, 90834, and 90837. For psychotherapy services performed with an E/M service (CPT codes 90833, 90836, and 90838), it is recognized that the psychotherapy time may not be continuous in a combined psychotherapy with an E/M service.

A Simple but Effective Approach

To combat this crisis, here are a few strategies:

  • Engage with uplifting and encouraging messages.
  • Simple interactions can make a significant difference.
  •  Leverage social media platforms to spread positivity.
  • Small acts of kindness and positive reinforcement can improve mental well-being.
  • Be prepared. If possible, plan what you’ll do if you start feeling overwhelmed. Call a mental health crisis hotline. Keep crisis support numbers saved in your phone if you need to use them.
  • 988: the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides free and confidential support to people experiencing a suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
  • 1-800-662-HELP (4357): the SAMHSA National Helpline provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Summary

Mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being, yet it is often overlooked and stigmatized. This blog post delves into the significance of mental health, exploring common mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress. It highlights the importance of recognizing symptoms early and seeking professional help. The post also discusses the benefits of both in-person and virtual psychotherapy, emphasizing how accessible mental health services have become. By raising awareness and promoting open conversations, we can break the stigma surrounding mental health and encourage more individuals to prioritize their mental well-being.

Resources

https://worldwidementalhealth.org/?gad_source=1&gclid=CjwKCAjw9cCyBhBzEiwAJTUWNQUWupcsmRtT_rdMHu-ATrvFGMrRume0oV7eNJ9kjjvClXtGvAky7xoCAO4QAvD_BwE

https://www.cms.gov/medicare-coverage-database/view/article.aspx?articleId=57520&ver=29#:~:text=In%20reporting%2C%20choose%20the%20code,less%20than%2016%20minutes%20duration.https://www.aapc.com/blog/88200-meet-documentation-requirements-for-psychotherapy-services/

USPSTF Recommends Anxiety Screening Post from December 2023 for KW Advanced Consulting

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