COVID 19 & Mental Health Resources
Increasing evidence underscores the intersection between COVID-19 and mental health. For example, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey found that 38% of participants reported anxiety and depression over the past year – an increase from 11% in 2019. Visits to emergency departments for overdoses and suicide attempts jumped significantly between March and October of 2020. These findings emphasize that all providers, regardless of discipline, are more likely to encounter patients with mental health concerns.
Learn more with these resources (PDF) that focus on the intersection of COVID-19 and mental health have been identified to foster patient care and self-care.
Toolkits & Fact Sheets
AAPA and PA Foundation's National Health Priority Toolkit: Behavioral & Mental Health: As PAs diagnose and treat behavioral and mental health issues across all practice settings, supporting them is essential to curbing this crisis. AAPA and the PA Foundation have recognized behavioral and mental health as a National Health Priority and is committed to providing resources to prevent and treat substance use disorders and mental illness in communities across the nation as part of a national movement for healthier bodies and minds.
National Institute of Mental Health: NIMH is the lead federal agency for research on mental disorders, and their mission is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illness through research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure.
National Alliance on Mental Illness: NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, and it offers extensive resources to support mental health awareness.
Mental Health America: (2022) The State of Mental Health in America provides detailed data from a variety of federal agencies and other sources to graphically display a snapshot of mental health.
Office of the Surgeon General: (2021) In Protecting Youth Mental Health: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory, Dr. Vivek Murthy calls for a whole-of-society effort to mitigate the mental health impacts of the pandemic, to address longstanding challenges, and to prevent future mental health challenges. The advisory outlines actionable steps for young people and their families and caregivers, schools, health leaders, community organizations, funders, media and technology companies, employers, and governments to protect youth mental health. All of us have a role to play.
SAMHSA: (2019) The National Survey on Drug Use and Health is a primary source for population-based prevalence estimates of substance use and mental health indicators in the United States.
National Council for Behavioral Health: (March 2017) The Psychiatric Shortage: Causes and Solutions highlights key problem areas, identifies the root causes and effects, evaluates risks with current trends, identifies specific innovative solutions, and lists actionable recommendations for implementation.
Vital Minds, the PA Foundation’s podcast series, features mental health in:
- Mind Shift: Taking Whole-Person Care From Concept to Practice with Amber Buzzi, MSPAS, PA-C & Phyllis Peterson, MPAS, PA-C (co-sponsored by the nccPA Health Foundation)
- Beyond the Baby Blues: Addressing Postpartum Depression with Kathleen Ehrhardt, MMS, PA-C & Jacob Wills, MSPAS, PA-C (co-sponsored by the nccPA Health Foundation)
- Tackling Opioid Use Disorder in the Hospital Setting with Richard Bottner, PA-C
- Healthcare Provider Burnout with Nelae Keene, PA-C, and Jay Somers, PA-C (co-sponsored by the nccPA Health Foundation)
- Addressing Addiction in PA Practice with Gianni Migliaccio, PA-C
- Opioid and Alcohol Use Disorder with Christopher Ortiz, PA-C, EMT-P
- Mental Health First Aid with Susan Salahshor, PhD, PA-C, DFAAPA
- Mood Disorders and Depression with Roger S. McIntyre, MD, FRCPC
- Preventing Prescription Opioid Misuse with Laura Katers, MS, MCHS, PA-C
- COVID-19: Emotional Toll on Healthcare Providers with Catherine Judd, MS, PA-C, CAQ-Psychiatry, DFAAPA, and Charles Raison, MD
The role of PAs in providing mental health care looks at NCCPA practice analysis data to assess the frequency and types of mental health conditions encountered by PAs in psychiatry and across practice settings. With the profession projected to grow, recruiting, retaining, and integrating more PAs into mental health care is a suggested strategy for addressing national provider shortages.
PsychU is a free community and online resource library for mental health. Psych U members have one simple belief: Enhanced information, increased collaboration, and ongoing discussion will lead to improved mental health care and patient outcomes for individuals with mental illnesses. PsychU is a community comprised of thousands of professionals, including Certified PAs, who provide, regulate, or administer mental health services in a variety of capacities. Membership is free.
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights' 2020 virtual series includes six webinars addressing mental health disparities in the US: (1) The toll of white supremacy and trauma on mental health, (2) States’ failing mental health parity laws, (3) Mental health among young people in marginalized communities, (4) Trauma informed care relating to gender-based and intersectionality-based violence, (5) Human rights HIV/AIDS and mental health, and (6) Homelessness and mental health.
J. Michael Smith, DHsc, MPAS, PA-C explains why PAs who choose to specialize in psychiatry are critical to bridging mental healthcare gaps across the U.S. Learn more in his article, published by Current Psychiatry.
The Association of Physician Assistants in Psychiatry provides both PAs encountering psychiatric patients and those practicing in psychiatry with support, advocacy, and resources.
SMI Adviser offers providers access to education, data, and consultations to make evidence-based treatment decisions for their patients with mental healthcare needs.
SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator is a confidential and anonymous source of information for persons seeking treatment in the United States for addiction and mental health problems.
Mental Health First Aid teaches risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help.
The Forum for Children's Well-Being aims to inform a forward-looking agenda for building a stronger research and practice base around the development and implementation of effective and equitable programs, practices, and policies to promote cognitive, affective, and behavioral health for all children, adolescents, and emerging adults.
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network is dedicated to raising the standard of care and improving access to services for traumatized children, their families and communities throughout the United States. Check out their knowledge base, apps for parents, and more.
The Campaign to Change Direction supports a change in America so that all of those in need receive the mental health care and support they deserve.
SAMHSA’s suicide prevention resources, including screening and assessment tools as well as population-specific toolkits, help identify persons at risk for suicide and offer resources to help.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center is supported by a SAMHSA grant and is the only federally supported resource center devoted to advancing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The Center provides technical assistance, training, and other resources to increase the knowledge and expertise of professionals serving people at risk for suicide.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention raises awareness, funds science-based research, and assists those affected by suicide. Check out their Three Year Strategic Plan that aims to reduce the amount of suicides in the U.S.
Healthline offers a multitude if resources, including crisis hotlines, online forums and support, and other methods of support.
The PA Foundation offers a comprehensive PA student guide for interacting, treating, and educating patients affected by substance use disorder.
The Providers Clinical Support System was created by SAMHSA for the purpose of educating primary care providers on the treatment of opioid use disorders and chronic pain. Their website offers a wide array of training materials and educational resources, as well as free MAT Waiver Training specifically for PAs that offers up to 24 Category 1 CME credits.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse offers additional tools and resources for medical and health professionals looking for more information on addiction medicine. Check their meeting and events page regularly so you don’t miss out on an informative webinar or educational conference!
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) has a comprehensive public health framework that specifically addresses the opioid crisis.
Surgeon General (2016): Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health reviews what we know about substance misuse and related consequences. Additionally,take a look at the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on Naloxone and Opioid Overdoses.
Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information and references presented here are intended solely for the general information of the reader.