Many Barriers Stand In The Way Of Seeking Mental Health Treatment
Mental health is the way our thoughts, feelings and behaviors affect our lives. Good mental health promotes a healthy self-image, which often leads to rewarding relationships with others. Making good choices, having a positive outlook and dealing with life’s challenges at home, work or school also stem from sound mental health.
Many people avoid seeking or continuing mental health services because of fear of what others may think, despite the fact that if they broke an arm or became visually impaired, they would get treatment. People often ignore persistent mental health problems thinking they will “snap out of it,” or with a little luck they will conquer their problems.
Many feel ashamed to admit that they are having difficulties. This kind of thinking often prevents people from getting the help they need. Sometimes getting help is a matter of changing your mind.
Denial may be the basis for some people’s reluctance to seek assistance when they need help with emotional difficulties.
For example, they might think, “I am not an alcoholic because I never drink during the day,” or tell themselves, “I am not depressed because I would never consider harming myself.”
For some people, rationalization keeps them from getting help. For instance, they may tell themselves, “Anybody who had my job would be miserable, so why shouldn’t I be depressed?” Or, “Our marriage will be better, allowing me to be less depressed, when our kids are grown.”
Still others fear a loss of control if they get professional help. They may generate their own roadblocks by thinking such thoughts as, “Getting help may make me change things I don’t want to give up.” Or, “I have enough problems as it is without someone I don’t even know playing with my mind.”
Getting past the reluctance to seek help requires tools such as education, self-examination, introspection, self-confrontation and reality testing.
Unfortunately, many people need a traumatic situation such as a physical reaction to stress, incarceration, accident, loss of job or threat of divorce to overcome their resistance to seeking treatment.
It usually takes several attempts by ministers, friends, physicians, employers or family to break down this wall of resistance and help people take the first step toward recovery by seeking or continuing mental health services.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright © 2012