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Why Is It So Hard To Access Mental Health Services?

October 13th, 2021


As Mental Illness Awareness Week comes to a close it’s important to not only prioritize our mental health but encourage mental healthcare as a preventative.

October 10th was World Mental Health Day. A day celebrated across the globe to raise awareness of mental health issues and mobilize efforts in support of mental health.

This marks the 2nd World Mental Health Day that has occurred during the pandemic. The lives of many Americans have been turned upside down since the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a challenging time and it’s never been more important to prioritize our physical health, but also investing time into our mental health.

The theme of this year's World Mental Health Day - Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality - is about taking action to ensure that everyone has access to mental health care, this is especially important as we find ourselves on the other side of the pandemic.

Mental Health Care Matters

Mental Health Care Matters

According to NAMI, 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, this equates to 20.6% of U.S. adults - or 51.5 million people.

Of those experiencing mental illness, only 44.8% of U.S. adults received treatment in 2019. For those who do seek treatment, the research found that the average delay between the onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years.

This poses the question, why are people not accessing mental health care sooner?

Barriers to Accessing Mental Health

There are multiple reasons why someone does not seek mental health treatment. Some of those reasons can include:

  • Stigma
  • Insurance Coverage
  • Availability
  • Specialties

Stigma often makes people feel trapped in a cycle of mental illness. The stigma of mental health can prevent people from reaching out and getting the help they need.

According to research, nearly 90 percent of people with mental health problems say that stigma and discrimination have a negative effect on their life. Some of the effects of stigma are decreased feelings of self-worth and self-esteem.

When it comes to seeking help or getting treatment, there is often a lack of insurance coverage. Even if you are insured, the cost of treatment may become a barrier to receiving mental health treatment.

According to a 2016 survey, roughly 34% of people with private insurance said they had difficulty finding a therapist who would accept their coverage.

Of those who were able to access in-network treatment, waitlists are long. Research showed that 94 million Americans have had to wait longer than one week for mental health services.

These wait times are even longer for those seeking to see a psychiatrist or specialists, with some new patient wait lists exceeding one year.

The proven outcomes of long wait times can be devastating. In the U.K., where wait times for mental health services are considered a major public health crisis, patients have reported divorce, job loss, and other serious consequences as a result of long delays in seeking mental health treatment.

Accessing Mental Health Care

Accessing Mental Health Care

Since March 2020, Clarity Clinic has stepped up to provide mental health services to roughly 600 people a day across its five locations to ensure Americans have the mental health support they need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This includes rolling out telehealth to enable mental health treatment from home to limit risks to physical health, establishing strong networks with the nation’s leading insurance providers, and providing a wide variety of psychiatry and therapy services.

Clarity Clinic founder, and well-regarded Chicago-based psychiatrist, Dr. Pavan Prasad, believes all Americans should be able to receive compassionate and effective mental health care.

“Mental health symptoms affect all of us regardless of ethnicity or socio-economic classification,”

“I have a desire to help reduce the stigma from the community and help people learn how to deal more positively with their symptoms. I feel inspired to figure out a way to help with these challenges which motivated me to move into the field of psychiatry.”

Dr. Prasad said he soon realized that people who need the most help, might not have the access to or appropriate insurance coverage. Fortunately, Clarity Clinic is in-network with six of the nation's leading health insurance providers.

“To say the need is great is an overwhelming understatement," Dr. Prasad said. “Before the pandemic hit, the mental health crisis in our country was explicitly high, now it has multiplied ten-fold. People deserve accessible and reliable mental health care.”

The Chicagoland clinic recognizes the dire need for mental health services - especially now during these times. New and existing patients can schedule an appointment online and can select from over 40 different treatment specialties offered by providers across our psychiatry and therapy teams.

“Mental health isn't a one size fits all situation. We are committed to ensuring our patients receive the care they deserve, whether that is talk therapy, medications, or both in combination."

Written By: Ruby Maskey

Clarity Clinic

At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff who specialize in therapy and psychiatry services. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic on (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.

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