The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.
Caring for your mental health has never been so important. With so much research and understanding about mental health and its importance, now is the time to take steps towards great mental well-being. However, despite the increased awareness of such an essential aspect of health, many barriers prevent some populations from receiving the care they need.
Everyone of any age, race, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic class deserves the right to mental health care. Developing more inclusive mental health care means that these populations get treatment and more people experience increased well-being. But how do we accomplish this? Read on to learn more about the importance of inclusive mental health care and how to overcome the most common barriers to it.
What exactly is inclusive mental health care? It is mental health care that does not discriminate or prevent anyone from receiving it. Inclusive mental health care incorporates care for any population that has been traditionally discriminated against. This can include minorities, people of lower-income brackets, people with disabilities, and those of the LGBTQIA community.
Though, in theory, anyone can receive care, the reality is a bit more complicated. Many groups of people do not receive the care they need due to barriers such as discrimination, costs, and the location of the services.
But inclusive mental health care is more than just making this care more accessible. It also means having the services to address the unique challenges of those affected populations. Therefore, it means having more diverse mental health professionals who can address those populations’ unique needs.
For more general information on inclusive mental health care and what it entails, you can find further reading here. Now, let’s discuss the most common barriers to these essential services.
Inclusive mental health care doesn’t have to be a myth or a fantasy. It can be a reality once the barriers to it are addressed and removed. So what are the exact barriers that prevent people from getting care? Some of them include:
- Low income/financial problems
- Racism and discrimination
- Lack of health insurance
- Stigmas over mental health care
- Lack of education on the importance of mental health
- Physical and invisible disabilities
What Needs To Be Done To Make Mental Health Care More Inclusive?
So how do we address the common barriers to mental health care? There is no simple or clear-cut path to more inclusive care, but there are some steps that can be taken now. Below are four different ways that society can create more inclusive mental health care services.
- Offer free and cheap services: Cost is often a major factor in why many people don’t receive mental health care. Even with insurance, these services can be pricey, so many people can’t justify the cost. By offering services that are free or on a sliding scale, people from lower-income brackets can receive the same care as those who don’t struggle financially.
- Online therapy: The one good thing that came from the pandemic is that it normalized receiving health care from home. This is helpful for people who don’t have good mental health care services in their area or struggle with physical disabilities and mobility. Online therapy also tends to be cheaper than in-person therapy, so it helps with the cost hurdle as well.
- Train diverse professionals: Many people don’t seek out care because they struggle to find mental health professionals who are understanding and empathetic to their unique needs. This is not only because the clients themselves may be discriminated against but also because prejudice prevents diverse professionals from entering the field. However, incorporating diverse teams and professionals ensures that the diverse clientele receives the support and empathy they need while overcoming their obstacles.
- Increased awareness: So far, the items on this list are things the healthcare industry needs to do to create inclusive mental health care. But what about regular people? The best thing that regular people can do is educate themselves on this subject and spread awareness. Increased awareness means that more people find ways to challenge these barriers and pressure the industry to make its services more inclusive.
As you can see, inclusive mental health care is essential to restoring the well-being of the community at large. Many people are excluded from essential care for reasons that are not their fault or beyond their control. By further educating yourself and spreading awareness, you can do your part to ensure that everyone receives the mental health care that they need.