Cost and wait times continue to serve as barriers for mental health treatment in the Valley

Published: Oct. 10, 2022 at 4:59 PM EDT
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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - Local mental health professionals said anxiety, depression, substance use disorder and trauma are the conditions they most commonly see in the Shenandoah Valley.

For many, their mental health conditions began or worsened during the pandemic. Monday, Oct. 10 is World Mental Health Day, a time to check-in with loved ones and yourself.

The ARROW Project is reminding people there is not stigma in asking for help.

“The major thing is just breaking the stigma. I think that our world and our country is doing a better job over the past several years of making this more common of a conversation,” said Katie Dolieslager, Communications Director and Resident in Counseling with ARROW.

Dolieslager said on average, people wait ten years before getting mental health assistance they need. The number of people in counseling or taking prescriptions for their mental health increased from 19.2% in 2019 to almost 22% in 2021.

“If we’re constantly waiting and waiting and waiting, all of a sudden providers are being bombarded and don’t have the space on their caseload to provide the help that they need,” said Dolielsager.

Many communities continue to respond to increased need. Dolieslager said many in the Valley hesitate to seek treatment because of the cost and because of wait times for a visit.

If you’re considering seeking mental health treatment, the ARROW Project has drop-in hours. That time can be used to discuss your mental health or to find counseling options in the area.