Sovereign Health Group Blog

Is access to mental health care still a challenge?

09-14-17 Category: Mental Health, Treatment Centers

Is access to mental health care still a challenge?

Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, dementia and schizophrenia are real and more people experience them than one can imagine. These conditions are characterized by abnormalities in thinking patterns, feelings or behaviors. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), mental disorders are common throughout the United States, affecting tens of millions of Americans each year. However, only about half of those affected manage to get treatment, the NIMH says.

Studies show that mental illnesses tend to assume many forms, making it tough to ascertain how to collectively treat them with a single method. The complex nature of mental health conditions prevents people with such illnesses from expressing what they are going through due to the fear of being stigmatized or ridiculed. Sadly, despite the efforts of lawmakers to ensure equal insurance coverage for individuals battling psychiatric and substance use disorders, experts say that securing an insurance coverage for mental health is far more difficult than in the case of physical health.

According to a study by a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, the Affordable Care Act insurance plan networks comprise about 24 percent of primary care providers in a specific area. On average, plan networks included 24.3 percent of all primary care providers and 11.3 percent of all mental health care providers practicing in a given state-level market. Such a limited network signifies a narrow pool of providers, which, in turn, affects the ability of a patient to choose from specialized mental health care providers.

The study, published in the journal Health Affairs in September 2017, noted that mental health care providers were less likely to participate in an insurance network than other doctors specializing in physical health care. It also maintained that as per the law, insurance companies are obliged to include mental health coverage just as any other services. “Concerted efforts to increase network participation by mental health care providers, along with greater regulatory attention to network size and composition, could improve consumer choice and complement efforts to achieve mental health parity,” said the authors.

Combatting mental health stigma and discrimination

There are various ways in which one can help battle mental health stigma and resulting discrimination so that people are able come forward and share their problems. Some of them are:

  • Seeking reforms in mental health care sector: Seeking opportunities to spread awareness about the positive attitudes of individuals battling mental health disorders can bust the myths and falsehoods disseminated by the media.
  • Self-examination of behavior and attitudes: Considering mental health patients as human beings instead of plain simple stereotypes goes a long way in eliminating preconceived notions and biased thinking. Moreover, such an approach also helps to correct the prevailing misapprehensions with knowledge based on scientific facts.
  • Striving to seek positivity in a situation: Mental health patients can greatly contribute to society. It is essential to put aside their reasonable weaknesses and identify and laud their strengths.
  • Selecting words carefully: Using demeaning language, foul language or deprecatory words for someone, who is living with poor mental health, can only worsen their situation. Empathizing with afflicted individuals can help improve their condition.
  • Learning proper facts about mental health issues: Millions are affected by mental health problems nationwide, and it remains a taboo even today. Creating awareness of the condition can prove to be effective in reducing the stigma.

Professional treatment is key

Mental health issues are known to disregard all barriers of age, sex or race, affecting everyone alike. Yet, it’s strange that it is still such a taboo subject. What is astounding is that the media, which is keen to raise awareness of other illnesses such as testicular or cervical cancer, seems to take a back seat when it comes to mental health. Talking about the mind should be just as easy as talking about the body or perhaps easier.

If you or your loved one is battling any psychiatric problem, get in touch with Sovereign Health to avail the latest treatment options at our residential treatment centers for mental health spread across the U.S. You may also call our 24/7 helpline or chat online to know about the most effective programs at our state-of-the-art mental health rehabilitation centers.

We accept Most Private Insurance, reach out to us so we can help!

Call Now Button