The mental health and education industry has experienced increased demand in recent years. According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 50.0% of all Americans will likely develop some sort of mental illness in their life that requires behavioral therapy. Furthermore, many individuals with behavioral health ailments have coexisting physical health conditions. This factor strains the US healthcare system, as behavioral issues can complicate patients’ treatment for other medical conditions or amplify current medical issues. For instance, depressed patients are typically three times more likely to be non-compliant with their treatment recommendations, which can add significantly to healthcare costs. In response, behavioral therapists and educators provide services through numerous channels, including both state and county hospitals, private practices, and community mental health treatment programs.
According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), an estimated one in five adults in the United States lives with a mental illness. NIMH also reported that 51.5 million adults aged 18 and older in the United States were living with some type of mental illness in 2019 (latest data available). Although industry operators have contended with limited state funding for mental health services, some states are taking the initiative to increase their funding. For example, 29 states and Washington, DC increased their mental health funding in 2015. Therefore, industry revenue has increased an annualized 4.2% to $9.8 billion over the five years to 2020, including an estimated decline of 1.0% in 2020 alone due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. However, the problem is not exclusive to adults, children and young adults are facing unprecedented times, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. More patients have visited behavioral therapists to address numerous ailments, including anxiety, substance abuse, and personality disorders over the past five years.
Due to healthcare reform’s expansion of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, an estimated 32.0 million individuals are expected to gain access to behavioral health coverage by the end of 2022. As a result of more individuals receiving preventive services, such as behavioral health screenings, demand for behavioral therapists is anticipated to increase. Furthermore, as social stigma surrounding mental illnesses subsides, more individuals are likely to seek services provided by the industry over the next five years. The need for quality educators has never been so apparent and will continue into the foreseeable future.