If you were lying in your yard with a broken leg and yelling “Don’t touch me! Leave me alone!” your friends would try to help. They wouldn’t leave you. They would assess the situation, intervene by treating you themselves or calling for an ambulance. They would be clear in their own minds that treatment would be needed and more than likely, everyone would agree that action had to be taken. So what changes when a person is displaying an emotional “injury”? Why do people procrastinate and resist treatment? Why don’t more friends and families initiate interventions with their loved one?
Neglecting mental health treatment can result in more serious problems down the road. For decades, researchers have been studying why some people don’t get treatment. Their findings suggest it is a complex set of reasons behind this reluctance to seek out mental health treatment.
The latest study, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, reviewed findings from 144 studies that covered a population of nearly 90,000 subjects. The researchers specifically looked at barriers to treatment reported in these studies, and pooled the findings to come up with ten barriers to getting mental health treatment.
So what are some of the top reasons people don’t seek treatment for mental illness?
• Self-sufficiency — wanting to handle the problem on one’s own — and simply feeling that they didn’t need treatment for the issue.
• Stigma about mental health issues
• Confidentiality issues
• Low knowledge about mental health services
• Fear/stress about the act of help-seeking or the source of help itself
• Lack of accessibility to care
Five Conditions that May Develop into Serious Emotional Problems without Treatment
All of these mental health issues are usually accompanied by depression, self-defeating behaviors, and faulty thinking and actions. Depression often gets worse if it isn’t treated. Untreated depression can lead to other mental health and physical problems and troubles in other areas of a person’s life. Feelings of depression can lead to suicide.
Early treatment can often prevent many serious mental health issues, but people may sometimes go from doctor to doctor for years and visit the emergency room repeatedly before someone correctly diagnoses their condition. This is unfortunate because many of the early symptoms are very treatable and in most cases respond to certain kinds of medication or certain kinds of cognitive psychotherapy, which help change faulty thinking patterns that lead to more serious issues.
If you are a family member or friend, voice your concern about their behaviors to the person. You may want to solicit the help of a professional interventionist. Back your judgment and even if you feel as though you are doing the worst possible thing for your friend or loved one and fear their resentment and anger, do whatever you have to. Be loyal to wellness. Don’t be loyal to illness.
If you experience any of these symptoms yourself, reach out for help as soon as possible. Many of the ways that individuals “handle” these issues without professional help involve the development of dysfunctional compensatory behaviors which complicate and exacerbate the resulting mental health condition, making recovery more prolonged and complicated. You can avoid more serious, complicated mental health issues when you seek professional help sooner rather than later!
Sources Available Upon Request
Bonnie Harken, Founder and CEO of Crossroads Programs for Women has spent the last 30 years assisting individuals begin their journey of healing. Look for upcoming programs at Crossroads Programs for Women. Begin your journey of finding renewal, hope, joy, direction and passion. Each program is a blend of lectures, group discussion, and therapeutic exercises offering a healing curriculum. We explore the spiritual components of healing from a non-denominational Christian perspective. Why continue to struggle? Tomorrow does not have to be like today. We can help you. Visit http://www.crossroadsprogramsforwomen.com or call 1-800-348-0937.