This Is Why It’s So Hard to Find Mental Health Counseling Right Now

Angelle Haney Gullett lost her father in September and knew she would need grief counseling. She contacted 25 therapists in the Los Angeles area, where she lives, between early October and Christmas, neatly tracking her efforts on a spreadsheet.

None would accept a new client. In most cases, their waiting lists were closed as well, even though Gullett was willing to pay hundreds of dollars in cash for each session. She spent February’s Super Bowl in tears, watching the Cincinnati Bengals, the team her father rooted for.

“I’m in a big city. I’m in L.A. We have a lot of therapists,” she said. “So it’s just kind of wild to me that that many people are at capacity.”

It has been difficult to find mental health counseling in much of the United States for years, long before the coronavirus pandemic began. But now, after two years of unrelenting stress, turmoil and grief, many people seeking help are confronting a system at or beyond capacity, its inadequacy for this moment plainly exposed.

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