Most Americans Don’t Seek Mental Health Help

Why People Aren’t Seeking Help for Their Mental Health DisorderA recent report entitled Mental Health Has Bigger Challenges Than Stigma by Sapien Labs shows approximately 45% of Americans who’ve been diagnosed with a mental disorder don’t seek professional help. This is based on the responses of 45,000+ individuals who filled out the Mental Health Quotient (MHQ) – a mental health “test” that places respondents on a spectrum from “clinical” to “thriving.”

The report also asked participants if they were currently seeking therapy or had done so within the last year. The 58% of respondents who answered “no” were then asked why they hadn’t done so when 21% of those who neither had nor were at risk of developing an issue sought therapy.

Why People Aren’t Seeking Help for Their Mental Health Disorder

One of the main issues that participants listed for not seeking therapy was that they preferred self-help. However, there were also a few other notable reasons, including:

  • 37% of Americans said that they lacked confidence in the mental health system
  • 34% said they didn’t know what kind of help they needed or where they could get it while 34% of Americans didn’t know what type of help to seek
  • 25% of Americans said they couldn’t afford therapy
  • 28% said they weren’t confident that therapy would help them (13% said they were afraid they’d be forced into taking medications or spending time in a psych ward)
  • 22% said they didn’t want the stigma associated with therapy
  • 17% of people around the world (outside of America) said they couldn’t afford it

These findings raise several questions regarding America’s healthcare system, such as:

  • Why don’t many Americans have knowledge of or confidence in the mental health care system?
  • Is the lack of mental health care professionals making it hard for Americans to find treatment for their mental disorders?
  • Has the press coverage of frequent, explosive violence made it so that people think this is what happens when anyone has mental health issues?

While the report suggests that the stigma of mental disorders isn’t the main reason why people are reluctant to seek care, this may be a substantial barrier to receiving care nonetheless. However, the MHQ doesn’t ask why participants prefer self-help. Those in the mental health field do hope that stigmatization is ending so more people are willing to embrace help without fearing what others may think of them.

A Look at Treatment Options Today

According to this report, we need to help people understand mental disorders better so they can get the help they need. Unfortunately, the report doesn’t state what the best treatment options are nor does it tell us how they can be obtained.

There are many effective therapies today. However, throughout much of the U.S., there aren’t enough treatment professionals. Unfortunately, this rift will likely grow larger as the pandemic has caused many people to become cognizant of their mental health issues.

Many people have turned to alcohol and marijuana to help them relieve the anxiety and depression the pandemic has brought about. However, more issues need addressing, including:

  • 43% said they feel nervous or on edge
  • 38% said they feel tired or like they don’t have enough energy
  • 36% said they were struggling with sleep disturbances while another 36% said they can’t stop worrying
  • 25% said they felt depressed or hopeless
  • 24% said they had problems concentrating

What This Ultimately Means

Three important issues act as significant treatment barriers for those in need of mental health treatment. These include high costs, lack of insurance coverage, and long wait times. At TMS Advantage in Clearwater and Pinellas County, we want to know that we have these things covered. They won’t stand in your way of receiving the help that you need for a mental disorder. So, contact us today.

Picture Credit: Freepik

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