Why Don't Mental Health Patients Seek Treatment?

The stigma of mental health is a major obstacle that explains why many people don't seek help. We don't want to be judged for seeking treatment, or be labeled as weak or incompetent, or worse, be seen as unable to take care of ourselves. Internalizing these stigmas is the first step to feeling ashamed and embarrassed.There are several ways a person who needs mental health care might not realize it. The implications of admitting mental illness and seeking help are too great to comprehend.

If they do recognize the problem, they find excuses why they don't need help. One of the most common reasons for not seeking help is fear and shame.People are aware of the negative stigma and discrimination associated with having a mental illness and don't want to be labeled “mentally ill” or “crazy”. They may also be concerned about how that label could negatively affect their career, education, or other life goals. The implications of these findings raise several questions about the nation's mental health system.

These areas often lack medical services, and the situation with mental health care and addiction treatment is even worse.Some people have been demoralized by their mental health problems and believe that “nothing will help me” or “I'll never get better”. Negative experiences with mental health professionals that are perceived as discriminatory and discrimination suffered by others because they have a mental illness can deter people from seeking treatment. The second way people may not realize that they need help is simply not realizing that what they are experiencing is a recognized mental health problem that can be treated effectively. Finally, many of the more “hidden” factors (fear, shame, inadequacy, limited awareness and hopelessness) represent a challenge, since the person can appear quite normal at first glance and can hide their mental health problems.A person may recognize some mental health issues, but may not be fully aware of their importance or truly understand that they have a real illness.

However, questions about the intended help-seeking were included before the start of Time to Change in the Department of Health's Attitudes to Mental Illness Survey, a nationally representative survey that has been conducted since 1994.30 Therefore, this survey provides a tool for evaluating the Time to Change campaign.A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that between 30 and 80 percent of people with mental health problems do not seek treatment. A factor analysis of the abbreviated version of the Community Attitudes Towards Mentally Ill Scale34, used in the Department of Health's Attitudes to Mental Illness Survey, suggested that intentions to seek help for a mental health problem were associated with attitudes of tolerance and support for community care but not with stigmatizing attitudes of prejudice and exclusion.There is no data available on any increase in access to mental health care throughout these programs, although it should be noted that an increase was observed during a smaller-scale mental health awareness program carried out in Nigeria. Practical barriers can be addressed by helping to organize transportation, helping with child care, or negotiating with employers to leave time away from work for mental health appointments. In the United States, a lack of trust in the mental health system was, at 37%, the main reason for not seeking professional intervention, followed by a lack of knowledge about what type of help to seek (34%).

Steve Darity
Steve Darity

Certified food scholar. General coffee fan. Unapologetic twitter fan. Amateur coffeeaholic. General web nerd.

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