Texas Senate Committee on Health & Human Services – Mental Health Impact of COVID-19
SUMMARY – On December 8, 2020, Andy Keller, PhD, President and CEO of the Meadows Institute, was invited testimony at the Texas Senate Committee on Health & Human Services. During his presentation, Dr. Keller discussed the mental health impacts of COVID-19.
Dr. Keller’s testimony began with a big picture overview of the mental health impacts of COVID-19:
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now tracks mental health needs weekly. As of early November, symptoms of both anxiety disorder and depression were up 4-fold.
- The number of people seriously considering suicide doubled.
- Mid-March through October 2020, the proportion of mental health-related ED visits increased 24% among children aged 5–11 and 31% among adolescents aged 12–17.
- A September study found that 52% of behavioral health organizations had seen an increase in demand.
Dr. Keller also provided a summary of papers that the Meadows Institute has developed which address the mental health impacts of a COVID-19 recession.
He applauded the investments of the Texas Legislature in previous years to invest in Texas communities and the state mental health system and provided recommendations for continued progress including:
- Continuing to scale-up the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium
- Secure access gains through telehealth by providing permanent adoption of waivers instituted by HHSC during COVID-19
- Implement collaborative care in Medicaid