Further evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted women, in early October Lionrock’s admission of women fell an unprecedented 32 percent compared to the month prior. In over 10 years of offering telehealth behavioral counseling, we have never seen our enrollment of women drop at that magnitude.

We attribute the drop to the beginning of the academic school year, which saw millions of children learning from home as school systems around the country struggled to offer safe learning environments due to the COVID-19 surge after the summer. Meanwhile, women struggled to balance homeschooling, work, caring for aging parents. Self-care is what these women sacrificed.

The data supports are theory. More than 800,000 women left the labor force in September 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, a survey conducted by YouGov in partnership with USA TODAY and LinkedIn found that 66 percent of women say they are primarily responsible for helping children with remote learning during the workday. And, a Maryland study found that parents who are stressed by having to help their children with distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic drink seven more drinks per month than parents who do not report feeling stressed by distance learning.

Our own data suggests that women struggling with substance use disorders are putting their children’s needs first and delaying getting help for themselves. Unfortunately, substance use disorders are progressive and getting help earlier often leads to better outcomes.

If current trends don’t change, we predict an influx of female clients who will be overdue for help in September when, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the COVID-19 vaccine will have been more widely dispensed.But people don’t need to wait to get help, even if they’re at home with their kids. In addition to Lionrock’s intensive outpatient treatment, available on the patient’s schedule and completely in private, Lionrock offers many online support groups, including one just for women.