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Stigmas Surrounding Mental Illness Prevent Many from Seeking Treatment

Posted on February 18, 2016 by Disability Help Group

A new study from Kings College London indicates that although one in four people may suffer from some form of mental illness, only about 25 percent of patients in the United States and Europe actually receive treatment. What was most significant in these findings is that the stigmas oftentimes attached to mental health issues are a main deterrent for people seeking treatment.

Although there are fewer stigmas surrounding mental illness today than previously, they still exist. People sometimes make assumptions about these conditions—such as having violent tendencies or being unstable. But stigmas can also come from within. For instance, believing that nothing will help or one’s life will be constantly filled with challenges.  

Unfortunately, the illness can worsen if it’s left untreated. This may lead to clinical depression, anxiety disorder, psychosis, bipolar disorder and other conditions.

The findings of the role stigmas play in treatment could provide opportunities to address this issue. But it’s not the only obstacle that stands in the way of receiving care. In fact, it was rated as the fourth highest reason that people don’t seek treatment. Other hindrances include feeling embarrassment and shame, not wanting others to know about it, and believing that treatment isn’t necessary or that one can deal with it on his/her own.    

For some people, mental health problems are disabling, making it impossible to hold down a job. Although Social Security disability benefits may be available, obtaining them can be challenging. The disorder must fall under one of ten categories in the Listing of Impairments and meet specific criteria.

Even if a condition doesn’t qualify this way, symptoms may be evaluated through another means like mental residual functional capacity. This looks at the patient’s mental capacity in performing work. To learn more about qualifying for disability benefits when diagnosed with a mental health illness, contact the Disability Help Group for help. Call us at 1-(800)-800-3332.