mental health treatment

One in five Americans suffers from a mental illness and one in 25 Americans suffers from a serious mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or recurring major depression. Despite the numbers, less than 60 percent of people with a mental illness don’t receive treatment for their condition, and nearly half of children ages 8 through 13 don’t either, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The reasoning behind the lack of treatment varies from person to person. These reasons can range from fears of being criticized and ostracized due to their mental illness or even due to personal misunderstandings about the effectiveness of treatment.

why people don't seek mental health treatment

Why People Don’t Seek Treatment

One of the major reasons that people forego getting the mental health treatment they need is due to the stigma surrounding mental illnesses and the people who suffer from them. In a 2014 study published in the Journal of Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, researchers found that the stigma surrounding mental illness was a major factor that deterred people from seeking treatment.

“Stigma, defined as negative attitudes held by others, is a barrier to receiving treatment for mental health disorders. Perceiving negative attributes such as believing individuals with mental health problems are weak, incompetent, and cannot take care of themselves, are common forms of stigma and may contribute to increases in harmful attitudes,” they wrote. “Negative views of treatment and shame related to experiencing mental illness may preclude young adults from seeking needed treatment”

While the study focused on young individuals, the stigma does not. People of all ages suffer from the effects of mental health stigmas, which can harm their willingness to seek treatment. However, stigma is not the only reason people choose to abstain from seeking mental health treatment. Other barriers to seeking treatment include access to mental health care, inconvenience and the lack of a perceived need for treatment.

Why Seeking Treatment Is Important

First and foremost, getting your mental illness treated and managed will help to improve your quality of life. Living with mental illness will always be a battle, but getting the proper treatment will make it much more manageable, allowing you to enjoy everything life has to offer without your condition getting in the way.

In addition to improved mental health, seeking treatment can also lead to other benefits, as well. Good mental health can also positively physical health by improving sleeping habits, the immune system and lower pain levels. Having your mental health treated can also improve your productivity, allowing you to focus on daily tasks and give you the motivation to get things done in a timely manner.

Improving your mental health can even extend your life expectancy. A 2012 study in the British Medical Journal found that even mild mental health problems can lead to a lower life expectancy.

Seeking treatment for mental health conditions is absolutely vital, regardless of what form of treatment you prefer. From medication to therapy to one of our clinical trials, there is a solution out there for every individual and we encourage you to find it so you can live a happier life with good mental health.

happy girl with arms up and a blue sky

Our Work

The Lehigh Center for Clinical Research conducts clinical research trials that treat patients and contribute to the medical community’s understanding of various mental conditions and disorders. Participants in Lehigh Center studies receive free trial medication, free mental health care from a medical professional and a stipend to reimburse volunteers for the cost of travel.

To see what trials we’re currently offering, visit our trials page for a list of specific studies.