CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Mental health care services were hard to come by for many before the pandemic began. However, after two years of stress and turmoil, many people seeking help are confronting a system at, or beyond, capacity.
Many looking for help are being stuck on waiting lists. Assistance of any kind is in short supply in rural areas, where all health-care choices are more limited than urban centers.
When the American Psychological Association surveyed its members last fall, they found that 67% of their psychologists said they were not able to take on new patients. 68% said their waiting lists had grown since 2020.
We were joined by Dr. Surani on First Edition to discuss the issue further.
We wanted to know what big challenges that people in the medical field are seeing as part of this strain.
"Even before the pandemic we had a severe crisis, we had a severe shortage of the mental health care providers," Dr. Surani said, "Now with this pandemic coming in and the inflation on the rise, we're going to see this more pronounced. Schools are closed, so not only the adults are affected, but the children as well."
Dr. Surani noted the lack of interaction that kids were getting as a major problem. But there's good news on the way.
"Initially mental health was considered a stigma. Now mental health is less of one, and we've made a lot of good work in that area for the patients to come forward. We recognize it, we treat it, just like any other illness." Dr. Surani explained.
Be sure to check out our full interview with Dr. Surani above.
If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of suicide or depression, there are resources to help. You can call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at any time during the day.
The number is 1-800-273-8255. Counselors are available 24/7.
You can also reach their text line by texting 'NAMI' or 'HELP' to 741741
There are also several resources here in the Coastal Bend including the Nueces Center for Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation, and Family Counseling Services in Corpus Christi and Kingsville.
- You can reach the Nueces Center for Mental Health at 361-886-6970.
- The number for Youth Mental Health Services is 361-851-6726.
- The number for the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation is 361-814-2001.
- Family Counseling Corpus Christi can be reached at 361-852-9665.
- Family Counseling Kingsville can be reached at 361-334-1139.
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