Long Islanders Struggle to Access Mental Health Care, New Poll Finds

mental health care
Dr. Adhi Sharma, president of MSSN
Courtesy Mount Sinai South Nassau

Results from a recent poll reveal a need for increased access to mental health care on Long Island.

More than a third of those surveyed who sought mental health services had difficulties finding a provider, regardless if the person had insurance or not, according to Mount Sinai South Nassau’s latest Truth in Medicine poll findings, which the Oceanside hospital released on Tuesday.

“We have a crisis on Long Island when it comes to the lack of mental health services,” said Dr. Adhi Sharma, president of Mount Sinai South Nassau. “The poll results strongly indicate that providers are working at or beyond capacity. This calls for an aggressive expansion of mental health screening, prevention, and intervention services to meet the present and future demand for them.”

Mental health care on Long Island

The poll surveyed 600 Long Islanders about their experiences with mental health care. About 92 percent of those surveyed have a health insurance plan. Of those who sought mental health care, 36 percent said they found it “challenging,” mainly due to scheduling or lack of coverage by their insurance.

Overall, anxiety, depression, social isolation, and fear of contracting Covid-19 are the most common issues that respondents sought mental health care for. The respondents were mixed on whether or not they believe there are adequate mental health resources on Long Island. However, 46 percent reported feeling that the government does not do enough to allow for mental health services.

In a panel discussion on Tuesday, doctors from Mount Sinai South Nassau joined with school officials from Baldwin, Freeport, and Rockville Centre to discuss the mental health crisis in children and ways that schools are helping to mitigate the problem.

“The stressors of modern life are challenging for most of us and have been made that much harder by the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic and the hardship and grief that it has caused,” said Aaron E. Glatt, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine and chief of Infectious Diseases at Mount Sinai South Nassau. “There are actions that we can take to live confidently and safely during the pandemic. If you or someone you love is struggling emotionally and that is interfering with daily life, don’t wait to get help.”

For more information about Mount Sinai South Nassau’s Truth in Medicine polls, visit southnassau.org/sn/truth-in-medicine.

The national mental health crisis hotline is 988.

The Nassau County Mobile Crisis Team, which operates from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, can be reached at 516-227-TALK(8255).

The Suffolk County Mobile Crisis Team can be reached at 631-952-3333 for adults 18 and older; 631-370-1701 for those under 18.