Tulane expert available to comment on mental health challenges of COVID-19February 10, 20222 min read
More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, behavioral health concerns continue to disrupt the lives of Americans, and addressing those concerns should be a major priority, a leading mental health expert from Tulane University says.
“We are seeing issues now and will see more behavioral health issues for years to come,” said Patrick Bordnick, PhD, dean of the Tulane School of Social Work. “Increased rates of relapse and new cases are growing each day.”
Bordnick and several Tulane colleagues conducted a study that says an “urgent need” exists for enhanced behavior health services, including brief interventions to normalize symptoms, raise awareness of risk factors and teach coping skills. The study was published recently in Scientific Reports.
“Prior to the pandemic, we had a shortage of mental health professionals. Now that the need has increased, the shortage is more dire,” Bordnick said. “Our hope is that this data raises awareness around the urgency to fund accessible behavioral health services to address preexisting needs as well the emerging stress and anxiety related to the pandemic.”
The study also suggests that gains made toward telehealth over the past year can continue and increase access to mental health services.
“At this point in the disaster, more intensive treatments should also be made available, especially for those who exhibit specific risk factors, such as young and middle-aged adults, those with limited income and prior behavioral health concerns, and those living in communities with poorer health,” Bordnick said.
Bordnick has over 20 years of experience in clinical and laboratory research on substance abuse, has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles for scientific journals and has received $4.5 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health. He is also a pioneer in the use of virtual reality for substance abuse and behavioral disorders assessment and intervention.
Patrick Bordnick Dean, Tulane University School of Social Work
Bordnick is a pioneer in the use of virtual reality for substance abuse assessment and intervention.