Mental health problems in the U.S. are more prevalent than people often realize. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one in five American adults experienced a mental health issue in 2020. One in six young people experienced a major depressive episode in the same year, and one in 20 Americans lived with a serious mental illness.
Each person is unique, and there is no single cause of mental illness. Instead, it involves a combination of factors, such as your genes, life experiences and family history. And sadly, almost half of Americans don’t seek help for their mental health problems. This means that millions of people are suffering daily with untreated mental illness.
So what stops people from accessing the care they need? Below we explore five common barriers to mental health treatment and what Spearhead Health is doing to close the gap.
1. Financial Barriers
One of the main reasons why people don’t seek help for their mental health is because of money. Although the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to provide coverage for behavioral and mental health, the cost of treatment is still expensive. Copays and deductibles add up quickly when a person needs regular therapy, medication and intensive treatment.
2. Lack of Available Services
Another thing that stops people from accessing high-quality mental health care is a lack of services. Not only is the U.S. facing an overall shortage of doctors, but also the mental health sector is the hardest hit. Between burnout, an aging workforce, poor compensation and insurance demands, the chronic shortage of mental health professionals is growing.
3. Limited Awareness
Even though we’ve come a long way in our understanding of mental health, we still have more growing to do. Many people haven’t been taught the signs of mental illness, how treatment can help and where to access it. Physical illnesses have apparent signs, but mental illnesses can be subtle or dismissed as personality issues. If people don’t know they have a mental illness, they can’t reach out for help.
4. Social Stigma
A stigma still exists regarding mental illness. Sometimes, it’s the person’s own beliefs that stop them from seeking treatment. Other times, it’s cultural, social and professional influences that create a barrier. For example, people worry that they’ll be treated differently for disclosing a mental health condition.
5. Racial Barriers
There are significant disparities in mental health services among different racial and ethnic groups. One survey found that white adults are more likely than black and hispanic adults to seek and receive mental health treatment. These disparities come from language barriers, implicit bias and a lack of diverse representation in the mental health field.
Spearhead Health: Committed to Being Part of the Solution
Spearhead Health is committed to being part of the solution. We provide a wide range of mental health and substance use treatment services, allowing clients to put together a personalized care plan that meets their needs. If people want help, we believe that they should be able to get it!
We have many paths to healing, and we can help you find yours. This way, you are only paying for the services you need while also getting an individualized treatment plan that recognizes your strengths and weaknesses. Contact us today to learn more about our case management and treatment placement services.