Mental Health Treatment and You: Seeking Help When You Need It

July 22, 2013

Mental health treatment: three words that carry an enormous amount of stigma. Although an estimated 57.7 million Americans are dealing with a mental health disorder each year, less than one-third seek treatment. These are devastating statistics, especially because most mental health disorders are highly treatable. There could be any number of reasons why people aren’t seeking the treatment they need; so how can you know when to get help?

When to Seek Mental Health Treatment

Symptoms

Mental illness often occurs on a sliding scale; there is not always a clear defining line between ‘normal’ difficulties and a diagnosable mental illness. That’s where medical professionals come in. If you suspect that something’s not quite right with your mental state, consult a doctor. You may be a candidate for mental health treatment.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, half of all mental health disorders occur by the age of 14, and three-quarters by age 24. However, a mental illness can set in at any age: you are never too old or too young to be diagnosed. Symptoms will vary depending on the type of mental illness you’re dealing with, but there are a few warning signs to consider:

  • Stress, sadness, or grief that lasts longer than normal; feelings that do not necessarily occur in response to everyday events.
  • Withdrawal from society and lack of motivation.
  • Extreme mood swings.
  • Loss of interest in activities that previously interested you.
  • Inability to function in work, home, or social settings.

Overcoming Barriers

We mentioned that there are many reasons why people don’t seek mental health treatment, even when they think they may need it. The number one reason seems to be money, or a lack of it. This should never stop you from receiving treatment. We offer a range of free mental health services, including assessment, care coordination, and linkage, all of which will get you on track to getting the low- or no-cost treatment that you deserve.

A second reason is fear: a fear of treatment interfering with work, fear of others finding out, or fear that treatment will not help. Please keep in mind that mental health treatment is not a one-size-fits-all method of care. Not all diagnoses lead to in-patient care or medication; these are decisions made in consultation with the client and their treatment team. Old notions that mental illness is an indication of weakness or lack of willpower are finally being destroyed. We know that seeking mental health treatment is a sign of strength and power. You are regaining control of your life by learning to manage the symptoms of your disorder, just as a cancer patient might undergo chemotherapy.

Mental health treatment has been proven to be effective in helping many people turn their lives around. Could one of them be you?

If you or someone you love is suffering from a mental illness and is facing financial obstacles to services, please call us at 1-800-338-5770.  At Guardian Behavioral Health Foundation we provide access to low-cost or no-cost mental health services through a variety of community mental health centers and professionals.  We also offer educational workshops for families and professionals.