Tens of millions of people in the United States live with a mental illnesses. Of them, less than half will receive treatment from adult mental health services. These programs have been repeatedly shown to improve symptoms and quality of life for people who are struggling mentally, but many people will still resist seeking treatment or simply don’t know when and why to seek care. Remember, getting help for mental health is not a sign of weakness–it’s simply a choice you can make to start living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Prevalence of Mental Illness
In the United States, 1 in 5 adults will experience mental illness every year. Of that group, more than a quarter will experience serious mental illness, meaning it has a dramatic impact on their life and ability to function. Mental illness typically begins to show its first signs in adolescence or young adulthood, before the age of 25.
While awareness and compassion about mental illness have come a long way, only 46.2% of adults with mental illness will receive treatment. Sadly, the average wait for people to seek treatment after they begin experiencing symptoms is an astonishing 11 years.
Barriers to Adult Mental Health Services
There are many barriers to adult mental health care services. However, the four primary barriers to care include:
- Stigmatization of mental illness
- Lack of awareness of adult behavioral health services
- Cultural barriers
- Financial cost
Fortunately, mental health care professionals are aware of these barriers and have worked hard to break them down.
Mental Health Stigma
Many people fear the repercussions of mental health treatment due to the negative stigma associated with mental illness. However, nobody should feel shame for mental illness–these disorders are out of your control, and largely due to genetics and environmental factors. Additionally, increasing awareness of the widespread prevalence of mental illness has helped to normalize these disorders, letting people know that they are not alone in their struggles.
Awareness of Adult Mental Health Care Services
Additionally, a lack of awareness of both symptoms of mental illness and mental health services is widespread. Unfortunately, this leads many people suffering from mental disorders to try to live with the symptoms versus receiving help. And in many cases, this results in substance abuse in an attempt to escape from the symptoms of mental illness.
Cultural barriers to care are a more delicate topic. Treatment centers like Baton Rouge Behavioral Hospital place a heavy emphasis on culturally competent care, but ultimately, seeking treatment is a choice. If you have concerns about adult mental health services being compatible with your beliefs, we will make every attempt to accommodate your beliefs.
Mental Health Care Financial Cost
Lastly, the cost of treatment still concerns many people. Fortunately, under the Affordable Care Act, all major insurance providers are required to have coverage for mental health treatment. Finding out whether an adult mental health services facility will take your insurance can remove the financial burden of getting help for mental health.
Common Mental Health Disorders and Symptoms
A mental illness is much more than just a bad mental health day. They can be pervasive, intense, and resistant to your best efforts to overcome them. The most common mental illnesses that Americans live with are:
- Depressive Disorders
- Anxiety Disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders
- Bipolar Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Each mental health disorder has its own set of symptoms, but there are common signs that indicate that help is warranted. These signs include:
- Excessive worrying
- Loss of hope for the future
- Extreme mood swings
- Isolating yourself from others
- Using substances to cope with mental health symptoms
- Thoughts of suicide
- Delusions or hallucinations
- Disrupted sleep patterns
Recognizing any of these symptoms could indicate signs of mental illness. Fortunately, help is available, and getting help for mental health with an adult mental health services program could drastically change your emotional wellbeing.
The Impact of Untreated Mental Illness
The consequences of leaving a mental illness untreated can be severe. Not only are you struggling mentally, but you may experience physical health consequences, a loss of a job, or damaged relationships. In addition, mental illness has a ripple effect that spreads to all areas of your life, and getting professional help is the best way to calm the waves.
Research has shown several consequences of leaving a mental illness untreated, including:
- Increased risk of physical disease
- Higher risk of unemployment
- A greater likelihood of developing substance use disorders
In addition, many people with untreated mental illness have problems with suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 25 and 34, and the majority of people who die by suicide showed prior signs of mental illness.
How an Adult Mental Health Services Program Can Improve Your Life
Mental illness is not a problem of willpower, morals, or ethics. They are medical disorders driven by the forces of genetics, brain chemistry, and the environment. As such, they can be treated with psychiatric medication and targeted behavioral therapies.
Evidence-based treatments for mental illness include:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: A talk therapy approach that emphasizes identifying and changing harmful thought patterns and behaviors
- Group Therapy: Therapist-led groups with peers that are struggling with similar problems, and can provide support and understanding
- Medication Management: Working with a psychiatrist to determine whether medication can help treat your illness, then assessing your progress and adjusting as needed
These treatments work by addressing all aspects of your mental health. Individual therapy can help you change destructive behaviors and thoughts, group therapy offers long-lasting support, and medications can address chemical imbalances that are associated with mental illness. While any single treatment can help, in conjunction they can be truly transformative.
Finding Mental Health Help in Louisiana
When you’re ready to start treating your mental illness and working towards recovery, we can help. You can speak to our admissions specialists directly by calling 225-300-8470 or reach out via our online confidential contact form.
Whatever your mental health challenges are, we believe that recovery is possible. You don’t have to do this alone – Baton Rouge Behavioral Hospital will be there to support you every step of the way.