What Stops us from Seeking Help with Our Mental Health?
When you begin to look into mental health, both in the UK and on an international scale, one of the biggest similarities of all mental health sufferers is how long they struggle with their symptoms before they speak to a doctor, or seek help – such as therapy – for their condition.
Mental health in the UK has historically had some sort of negative stigma attached, causing many people to keep their mental health issues to themselves. For many years those with serious mental health conditions would be hidden away by their family and loved ones, whilst those with less severe mental health conditions were mostly encouraged to keep their experiences to themselves – both for fear of judgement for their families and for fear of being outcast.
Over the last few years however, mental health has been given an increasing amount of exposure through social media and a number of different films and television series, whilst a selection of celebrities and influencers have also recently spoken out about their own mental health conditions and experiences with depression, anxiety and a number of other issues.
The media and high-profile battles with depression and other mental health issues have helped to start the conversation about mental health, encouraging more people to open up and discuss their issues and making the subject less “taboo” in everyday life. However, this encouragement to open up about mental health issues, doesn’t seem to be translating to people visiting their doctor, or another professional about their battle with mental health.
It often takes people many years to seek help for their symptoms, with many people waiting for their condition to worsen before seeking help or allowing loved ones to seek assistance on their behalf. But why is it that so many people avoid seeking treatment for their mental health illness?
Most Common Reasons for Avoiding Therapy
Fear of Stigma
Whilst the stigma around depression and anxiety is slowly being reduced, the term “mental illness” for a lot of people can still carry a lot of negativity which could still be holding people back from seeking the help they need. Men – who are already less likely than women to seek help for their mental health – have been conditioned over many years to “man up” over their emotions, discouraged to cry and even told not to discuss their emotions and therefore, therapy is something they may feel embarrassed about their friends or loved ones knowing about. Those in older generations are also more likely to experience stigma around therapy, and may be less likely to seek help when they suffer with their mental health for the same reason.
Finding the time to fit in an hour or two of therapy a couple of times a week can seem impossible for those of us who can’t even seem to find a minute to ourselves. However, a recent study by the NHS found that those who combined medication with therapy (for depression and/or anxiety) were three times more likely to respond to treatment, than those who took medication – such as antidepressants – alone. Online therapy is a great way to introduce therapy into your schedule without causing too much disruption. Unlike with a traditional face-to-face clinic you’re not required to travel to a physical location – which can turn a one-hour therapy session into a three-hour mission – and it can take place in the comfort of when works for you, for example in your office on your lunch break.
Many mental health conditions – in particular depression – cause us to feel like we have passed the point of being helped or getting better. Believing you’re beyond help can be a huge deterrent from seeking therapy or even speaking to a doctor about a diagnosis – unfortunately this feeling can increase over time as symptoms worsen. However, therapy has proven to be the most effective way to alleviate the symptoms of a number of different mental health conditions, but the longer it takes you to seek help the harder it can become to overcome the symptoms.
Many people struggling with their mental health wait many years to seek help, not because they don’t want to feel better but for fear of finding out what is wrong in the first place. For many people having a confirmed mental health diagnosis is worse than not knowing what is causing their problems and many people fear that once they have been diagnosed, they will have the condition for the rest of their lives. However, with the correct diagnosis and treatments in place, even those suffering with severe mental health issues can see an improvement or even stop experiencing the symptoms of poor mental health completely. Once diagnosed, some people still do not seek therapy for their symptoms, due to fear of opening up. Many people who struggle with their mental health are afraid to share their thoughts and emotions with a therapist for fear of being judged or sharing their thoughts with a stranger.
If you find yourself struggling with your mental health and you’re ready to begin treatment to alleviate your symptoms, online therapy could be a great way to introduce therapy into your life. Meeting a new person – particularly someone you will share such intimate details of your life with – can be a difficult process for anyone. Participating in therapy through an online platform can make the leap into your first session a lot easier – there is no need to leave the comfort of your living room – and a face-to-face meeting is often a lot easier through a webcam. If you think therapy could help you with your mental health conditions, our online platform could be the perfect way to introduce therapy into your life without changing your daily routine or increasing pressure on your weekly schedule. Our interactive platform has been expertly developed to help bring you professional and affective therapy, through a convenient and accessible way. Find out more about the therapeutic services we offer, and the range of conditions we might be able to help with on our website.