Mental health issues can be difficult to address and manage. It requires a great deal of resources, support, and education to be successful.
In this post, we will discuss the 5 greatest challenges in dealing with mental health issues.
Mental health issues and disorders are still stigmatized in many societies, making it difficult for people to seek help and support. This stigma can create feelings of shame and guilt, and can prevent people from seeking professional help or even talking to friends and family about their struggles, as they become afraid of being judged or rejected.
It is important that we work together to break the stigma around mental health issues, talking more openly and encouraging more understanding. Together, we can create a world where seeking help for mental health is no longer a taboo, but rather a source of strength, compassion and support. We have previously written on the stigma surrounding mental health, its consequences and how it can be overcome.
2. Access to Resources
Many people do not have access to the resources they need to manage their mental health, such as therapy, medication, or support groups. This can be due to a variety of reasons, including the unavailability of such resources in their area. Further, given the long-term nature of mental health treatment, some people may have difficulties affording it on an ongoing basis. This is exacerbated by the fact that such treatments are usually not covered by insurance.
In Singapore, the treatment of certain mental health disorders is Medisave claimable under the Chronic Disease Management Programme (CDMP). Those disorders include Schizophrenia, Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Anxiety (such as General Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder). Unfortunately, some illnesses like eating disorders are not covered under this programme. Find out more about the programme here.
3. Lack of Knowledge
Many people are unaware of the signs and symptoms of mental health issues, and may not recognize when they or someone else is struggling. This lack of knowledge can make it difficult to seek help and support. The lack of knowledge also extends to what certain mental health issues entail, leading to name-calling (e.g. “that person is crazy”), discrimination and stigmatization.
Further, though there are many mental health care options, there is insufficient information on how an individual should select an appropriate one. For example, an individual may not know the difference between a psychiatrist, psychologist and a psychotherapist and whom he or she should see. This uncertainty and confusion can result in an overwhelming experience that causes them to delay seeking treatment. For assistance with this, you may check out our prior article on “How Do I Choose the Right Therapist?”
Some people may delay seeking treatment for their mental health issues due to inertia (also known as the treatment gap). Inertia is the tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged. Inertia can arise as a result of various factors, some of which have been outlined above. These include being afraid of the stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment, being unaware of the resources available to them or being overwhelmed by the number of treatment options that they can select from.
According to the 2016 Singapore Mental Health Study (SMHS), it can even take more than a decade for some to seek treatment.
But it goes without saying that it is important for individuals to take the necessary steps to seek the mental health treatment they need and to recognize that there are resources available to them.
5. Unhelpful Coping Mechanisms
People may resort to unhelpful coping mechanisms to deal with their mental health issues, such as substance abuse, self-harm, or avoidance. This can happen due to some of the issues outlined above, including the stigma surrounding mental health and a lack of resources. These coping mechanisms can be both physically and mentally damaging in the long-term and can make it difficult to recover from mental health issues.
People should thus look for healthy ways to cope with their mental health issues, such as engaging the services of a mental health professional or doing activities like exercise, journaling, or engaging in creative pursuits.
Dealing with mental health issues can be challenging, but with the right resources, support, and education, it is possible.
As an individual, you can start by educating yourself about these issues and providing a non-judgmental listening ear to friends and families struggling with such issues.
You can also collaborate with other like-minded persons to advocate for greater access to mental health resources.
Finally, learn to seek help from mental health professionals. At Solace, our evidence-based art psychotherapy has helped numerous people through difficult times in their lives.
Together, step by step, we can help create a healthier future for all.