May is Mental Health Month. It serves as a reminder to take time to check in with ourselves and our loved ones. Simply starting conversations about mental health can help build a healthier future.

About half of Americans will meet the criteria for a DSM-IV disorder sometime in their life.

In 2019, 11% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. In 2023, this number jumped to 32.3%. Nearly 1 in 5 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year. Over 2.7 million youth in the United States are experiencing severe major depression — and 60 percent of these youth do not receive mental health treatment.

We are faced with an increased number of people struggling with mental health challenges, and more than 150 million people live in federally designated mental health professional shortage areas. As the number of individuals struggling with mental health challenges increase, the number of healthcare professionals available decreases.

Rising psychiatry and mental health provider shortages.

It is projected that through 2024 there will be a shortage of between 14,280 and 31,091 psychiatrists. In the United States, it is estimated that there is only one mental health provider for every 350 individuals. That number may even be an overestimate as it can include providers who are no longer practicing or accepting new patients.

More than 60% of psychiatrists are 55 or older. The mental health shortage is largely due to population growth combined with increased retirement rates of healthcare providers. A few ways to help fill the gap include leveraging telemedicine, increasing the number of psychiatrists in training, educating primary care providers, and leveraging locum tenens for communities in need of care.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services launched numerous efforts to increase access to mental health care. In February 2023, the Health Resources and Services Administration issued the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program to recruit and retain licensed primary care clinicians in eligible disciplines in eligible communities of need.

Take some time to look around, look within.

This year, Mental Health America (MHA) encourages us to look around and look within. The purpose is to challenge ourselves to better understand our nation’s and communities’ mental well-being, as well as our own. Improving your whole health can improve your overall wellness.
Organizations and individuals are working towards addressing and lessening stigmas associated with mental health challenges. To help contribute to lessening stigma, empower yourself with facts and research. Be sure to read about the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions, as well as explore resources for talking about mental health and spreading acceptance, support, and hope.

This Mental Health Month, make a commitment to practice self-care. This means taking breaks, going for walks, getting adequate rest, eating healthy, and doing something you love.

Light up green for Mental Health Month.

Green represents the color of mental health awareness. Over 100 landmarks across the nation are lit in green to encourage learning about mental well-being. Join in and see who is lighting up green for mental health month here.

Get the help you need and deserve.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available:
  • Call or text 988 or chat at org.
  • To learn how to get support for mental health and substance use conditions, visit gov or call or call 800-662-HELP (4357).

Remember that there is always help and hope available to you and your loved ones. You are never alone.

If you are looking to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition, take a mental health test via MH here: Take a screen.

Celebrate those who provide mental health care.

There is so much to learn and celebrate during Mental Health Month. Be sure to remember to recognize those around you who provide mental health care to patients! Their work improves individual lives and communities. Share your admiration via social media or send a note to a colleague telling them that you appreciate their work.

Medicus appreciates all mental health care providers this May and throughout the year and is proud to provide locum tenens psychiatry support to health systems throughout the country.

If you are interested in locum tenens psychiatry jobs, view our current psychiatry openings here.