National Council for Behavioral Health

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Contact:
Sophia Majlessi
SophiaM@TheNationalCouncil.org
(202) 621-1631

Clinics continue to seek substantive federal relief to keep doors open as demand for services soars

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 4, 2021) – New “State of the Industry” data released by the National Council for Behavioral Health finds 40% of mental health and addiction treatment organizations surveyed will not be able to keep their doors open past the end of the year without additional federal relief. The data arrives amidst rising concerns about mental health, increases in overdoses and a surge in overdose death rates in communities across the country. Compounding the problem, a recent report from the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission found that only 36% of eligible mental health and substance use providers received Provider Relief Funds from the Department of Health and Human Services in 2020.

The results of the National Council’s survey take stock of COVID-19’s impact on mental health and addiction treatment organizations, polling CEOs to accurately understand financial impact, workforce and staffing impact and demand for services among other metrics.

Key findings, encompassing the last three months, include:

  • Organizational viability and access to care for millions of people is at risk of disappearing, with 40% of mental health and addiction treatment organizations reporting a less than one-year financial window under the current situation.
  • Demand for mental health and addiction treatment services is increasing, with 67% of organizations seeing an increase in the demand for services.
  • Demand for youth mental health and addiction treatment services is increasing, with 63% of organizations seeing an increase in the demand for youth services.

“The data is clear, mental health and substance use treatment organizations need sustained support to continue providing lifesaving services past the end of this year,” said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “We face a second public health crisis on top of the pandemic: a nationwide mental health crisis that will last for years to come. Relief funding thus far has been enormously important. But relief funding is finite – demand for critical mental health and substance use treatment, bolstered by COVID-19, is not.”

The survey also found 68% of organizations have had to cancel, reschedule or turn away patients; nearly half of organizations have seen patient waitlists grow with an average waitlist growth of 7.2%; and half of all organizations have laid off or furloughed employees.

“While some organizations have been able to rehire staff and resume programs previously discontinued because of the pandemic, layoffs and furloughs continue to contribute to lengthening waitlists,” Ingoglia continued. “The future of our nation’s mental wellbeing – particularly our young people – is at stake. We call on Congress and the administration to collaborate with us to find solutions around strengthening the behavioral health care workforce and providing increased support to address the continued rise in demand for services.”

 

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Morning Consult conducted the polling between February 1-18, 2021, among a national sample of 332 members of the National Council for Behavioral Health. The interviews were conducted online. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 5%.

The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 3,326 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and 2.5 million Americans have been trained.