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Overcoming Obstacles to Mental Health Treatment

When you are ill or are suffering from an injury, you visit a hospital. Your ailments are inspected, and you are given treatment. Ideally, you will recover continue with everyday life. If you have a mental health problem, however, the path to treatment is not as straightforward.

20% of American adults have experienced a mental health issue during their lives. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also reports that 5% of Americans suffer from a serious mental illness such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia among others. It’s estimated that 12% of sufferers are currently living without therapy, medication, or even an official diagnosis due to a certain factor in their lives preventing them from seeking treatment.

The first barrier is the cost of treatment. A traditional 60-minute therapy session will run you $65 to $250 whether you have insurance or not. Costs rise the more severe the diagnosis, as they carry loftier lifetime financial burdens. For example, those suffering from major depression could potentially spend an average of $10,836 on health costs every year.

Next, mental illness-associated social stigmas often curtail people from seeking out the help and treatment that they need. They may feel embarrassed or even guilty for needing support and may fear for their relationships, reputation, or career. These feelings can worsen symptoms, making treatment an afterthought in the individual’s mind.

Another barrier is the lack of culturally sensitive providers. Minority populations only represent 16% of psychologists, despite these communities representing nearly 40% of the U.S. population. A lack of diverse care and cultural knowledge will in turn effect provider-patient relationship. Additionally, therapy relies heavily on verbal communication and, while the United States is a melting pot, non-English speakers could have a very hard time finding providers who are fluent in their language. This barrier could in turn produce delayed treatment and misdiagnoses among other miscues.

For more information regarding mental health care and how to bypass therapeutic barriers, please see the accompanying guide.


Guide created by AnswerSuite, visit their website for more treatment data

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