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The demand for mental healthcare has been increasing more than it ever was.

People's everyday lifestyle has become severely stress-inducing with all the societal pressure, the race to have a stable life, and as the constant feeling of being unaccomplished looms in their minds, the demand for mental healthcare has been increasing more than it ever was. However, it remains inaccessible to most, there are major barriers that hinder people from receiving effective treatment.

It takes a long wait for people to finally seek therapy and find a therapist who can understand the individual's lived experiences especially when they identify as LGBTQ+, disabled, etc. There are still mountains of additional hurdles to go to therapy and receive treatment.


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At the level of the individual level, some of the barriers that confine people to stay in the state of mental stress include-

Financial Barrier:

Most therapists and professional mental health care specialists charge a handsome fee for each session and sometimes per hour. Even if an individual has medical insurance that covers behavioral and mental healthcare, the cost for the treatment is still too high which makes it off-limits for treatment. Lack of financial resources can lead to inconsistent or inadequate treatment. Most independent therapists do not even accept insurance. It makes people skeptical if the process is even worth the investment, holding them back from getting professional health.

Social Stigma:

The social stigma associated with mental illnesses often prevents people from seeking mental healthcare. It brings shame and embarrassment to people struggling with mental illnesses. People suffering from mental health issues are often told, "You could control your mental illness…if you only tried," demotivating them from getting into therapy and even pushing them to hide their struggles.

They are faced with discrimination social and professional. The fear that family and friends will avoid them or treat them negatively, once they know about their mental illness further worsens their condition and forces them to keep their mental health to themselves.

Lack of Awareness:

Many people in society do not consider mental illnesses as "real illnesses" as they are not physically visible. They do not understand the breadth and the range of mental illnesses and disorders. Symptoms of mental illnesses are subtle and are dismissed as minor "personality issues". Clinical anxiety is dismissed as "excessive worrying" and depression is looked upon as "laziness". Thus, serious mental health condition stays unseen until people themselves share their thoughts and feelings.

Depressed man Depression is often dismissed as "laziness"Unsplash

Lack of Mental Health Professionals:

There is a shortage of mental health professionals for people to go to. With only limited options from in the market, it is a challenge to find a therapist who can both understand the challenges unique to your culture and simultaneously treat your specific mental health concerns. Even if mental health professionals are available in urban areas there are no mental healthcare providers in the rural area at all.

ALSO READ:The Silent Epidemic; Mental Health

Conclusion

India still has a long way to go before it has adequate mental health facilities all over the country. Eradicating all the barriers and then walking into therapy is a hefty challenge itself. But if you are suffering from mental illness, don't be afraid to speak out and please know that you are not alone! Understanding what prevents mental healthcare access opens the door to improving that access with better conditions. Despite the initial steps to seeking mental healthcare can be challenging the investment can result in long-term benefits.

Keywords: Mental illnesses, mental healthcare, therapy, therapist, social stigma, mental disorders


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