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So you're depressed. Now what?

 Gabriel Byrne plays a psychotherapist in HBO 's "In Treatment"

Maybe a doctor diagnosed you with depression or anxiety. There might be a pill for that, but qualified mental health therapists, especially psychiatrists, are increasingly out of reach, according to a Wall Street Journal report (paywall). 

Fewer psychiatrists are accepting private insurance. In sliding scale clinics where doctor turnover is high, the problem is continuity, because mental health treatment requires regular visits over a meaningful period of time.  

According to a 2013 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, some 91 million people live in places where mental health professionals are in short supply. About 55 percent of the nation's 3,100 counties have no psychiatrists, psychologists or social workers. 

In Massachusetts, where psychiatrists and other mental health workers are plentiful, many aren't accepting new patients because of high demand.  

The Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to cover mental health benefits equally with medical benefits, a first step toward addressing a period of coverage declines in private insurance plans. But with more people enrolling and seeking the benefits, the shortage of mental health providers is likely to be felt even more.   

Check out U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services data on mental health and other medical provider shortages by county here.  


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