Transport for mental health services on the rise following COVID-19 shutdown of outpatient centers

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Healthcare transportation company Roundtrip reports a rapid rise in people accessing services for mental health, including substance abuse treatment, as outpatient centers open up after shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roundtrip works with care providers to set up transportation, especially for vulnerable populations, so getting a ride doesn't stand in the way of getting quality healthcare.

"We're not talking 5 or 10 percent, we're talking 92-percent growth in mental health services," said Mark Switaj, Roundtrip founder.

Experts cautioned isolation, lost wages and feelings of uncertainty would lead to higher rates of depression and addiction. But there is a positive side.

"What (the data) is telling me is people are going for those treatments and they're not accessing the emergency department. They're staying active in the community, going to the outpatient care they need at the right site and that allows them to get the best care and better outcomes," said Switaj.

And Roundtrip recently received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to further study those outcomes and determine how transportation helps people battling opioid addiction.

For more information, visit: Roundtrip NIH Grant
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