According to data from NeuroFlow, more individuals are seeking treatment for depression, anxiety, and social isolation since the beginning of the pandemic
A recent survey from the CDC points to warning signs that America’s mental fitness was eroding from the pandemic’s toll. Roughly 40% of Americans reported behavioral health struggles since the Coronavirus lockdown began.
More than three months later, NeuroFlow has reviewed anonymous user data to better understand the scope of COVID-19’s impact on the American psyche. From March 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020, several patterns emerged from the data. This four month snapshot revealed a rise in anxiety, depression, and social isolation symptoms amongst a population receiving clinical support for their mental health.
Only 43.3% of adults in the U.S. seek out treatment for mental illness, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The other 56.7% with mental illness go undiagnosed or untreated — a major problem for the healthcare industry. The data set synthesized for this report is from approximately 18,000 users, all coded anonymously. As a whole, the NeuroFlow mobile app maintains a 72.52% engagement rate on average, which is defined as a patient completing activities consistently within an 8-week period.
“COVID-19 had a dramatic impact on our practice but I would like to credit NeuroFlow for lessening that impact – it was a lifeline”
When analyzing the month-over-month increase in clicks to the “Find a Therapist” icon within the NeuroFlow app, there is a rapid spike followed by a new emerging baseline of higher clicks. April 2020 represented a 106% increase in clicks vs. January 2020, correlating to the time frame when many states imposed stay-at-home orders and new guidelines with regards to social distancing. This “jolt” to the American psyche was likely the realization that the pandemic would greatly impact daily life for the foreseeable future.
Anonymized submissions to the app’s journaling feature were analyzed to improve the platform’s risk stratification model. A higher percentage reported experiencing increased stress or anxiety due to both health and economic stressors associated with COVID-19. The analysis also uncovered a reduction in steps and daily movement for users, dropping off significantly in mid-March. In January 2020, users average daily steps were 3,427, whereas between March 1 and June 30, users average daily steps dropped to 2,894.
“It’s alarming but also not unexpected to see the data point in this direction,” said Julia Kastner, NeuroFlow’s VP of Product. “We’ve built a system to make it easier to spot these types of patterns and trends. Ultimately, the tool should guide better decision-making while also allowing end users to feel comfortable sharing their emotions through routine questionnaires, surveys, and journals.”
Like nearly every medical operation, the Regional Pain Institute, a leading pain management practice in Arizona, was impacted tremendously by COVID-19 but has been able to still engage with patients and support their behavioral health remotely. “COVID-19 had a dramatic impact on our practice but I would like to credit NeuroFlow for lessening that impact – it was a lifeline,” notes practice administrator Nathan Martin.
While most patients are already cognizant of their mental health by the time they work with a clinical professional or use an app, current events have expanded the spectrum of those who are willing to openly report and manage their behavioral health on a regular basis. Remote monitoring technologies can enable clinicians and care teams to keep up with an increased demand for integrated, remote care.