The mental health landscape is irrevocably changed, says Dr. Alberto Pertusa, a consultant psychiatrist based in Harley Street
Health concerns dramatically increased in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, leading many HNWs to move away from more traditional mental health inpatient and clinical treatment settings, including video consultations and highly bespoke home-centred care. At the London Psychiatry Clinic, we have seen a move away from disease-focused brief interventions and towards health maintenance through long-term therapeutic engagement.
The threshold for seeking mental health related advice has also changed, with interest in early preventative measures to reduce stress and burnout, and increased demand for functional and preventative medicine, along with coaching services, including executive coaching, career change-facilitation and graduate development and support.
The intersection between physical and mental health presents fertile ground for the wellness and preventative-medicine industries that, together with fasting, bio-feedback and bio-hacking, are attracting individuals seeking improved performance and longevity. Cryotherapy, hyperbaric oxygen and other interventions are increasingly crossing over from research and elite sports, although more research is required before these can be recommended as well-evidenced treatments in the mental health arena.
Pandemic restrictions have brought into focus our basic human needs, as well as health benefits of social contact and face-to-face engagement. The demand for small-group retreats has outstripped supply, with attendees finding many of the more successful retreats help identify and address needs for personal interaction. Increasingly common is a desire to move away from individualistic goals towards greater connectivity with people, the environment, shared meaning and values. Somewhat related is the renaissance in psychedelic research, making headline news as re-emerging treatments for depression and other conditions, reinforcing the potential of psychedelics as catalysts of self-discovery and change. However, as psychedelics remain illegal in the UK outside of official research settings, some are seeking out clinics, retreats and traditional healers abroad or in the UK illicitly. The quality and safety of these settings seem highly variable and increasing numbers of people have begun presenting with problems arising from negative psychedelic experiences from such trips.
In 2022, we expect further growth in the above specialised areas as well as a general increased demand for mental health services, expansion of teletherapy, and greater emergence of mental health concierge and membership services.