What is a Treatment Barrier?

July is Minority Mental Health Awareness Month which was founded by Bebe Moore Campbell after witnessing the treatment barriers her daughter faced while trying to seek out mental health treatment. While Campbell highlighted specifically barriers to her community, treatment barriers are experienced in all places throughout the globe.  In America, the percent of individuals who do not receive care due to barriers ranges from 44% to 70%. This statistic may have you thinking: what, exactly, is a treatment barrier in the mental health field? A treatment barrier is any condition or factor that stands in the way of an individual receiving care. In the mental health field, there are multiple treatment barriers that can prevent an individual from even seeking out care, let alone receiving it.  Check out these three categories and some examples of treatment barriers facing those seeking mental health treatment in the United States! Logistical Treatment Barriers Logistical treatment barriers are those deterrents to mental health treatment that are movement, time, or detail-based. For example, lack of transportation to a mental health facility is a logistical treatment barrier. Having no mental health offices in your geographical location is another example. A third example is not having a provider that offers hours that are accessible to you - think of the only mental health office in the area being open from Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, but those are your exact working hours. Treatment barriers can be as simple as not having access to or time to go to a mental health facility for care. Financial Treatment Barriers A second form of treatment barriers are financial treatment barriers.  These are hurdles due to money or insurance constraints. For example, if you’re like 8.6% of Americans, you may not have any health insurance coverage at all, drastically reducing the amount of affordable healthcare providers in your area. If you’re in a city where the cost of living is higher, the mental health professionals may be charging a higher cash pay rate, meaning it may be out of your budget. Affordability is a major treatment barrier, especially to those with no or inadequate health insurance coverage. Cultural Treatment Barriers Finally, there are cultural considerations that may become treatment barriers to mental health treatment. Mental health stigma, or the idea that receiving care for your mental health is negative, is present in many cultural communities and generations. For immigrants, first-generation Americans, and the deaf community, language barriers can be a cultural consideration that reduces access to care. Finally, lack of representation can influence an individual to not seek out care. 86% of mental health providers currently in the workforce are white, meaning there is a severe lack of BIPOC providers in the field to provide adequate representation. We hope this blog helped inform you about the presence and severity of treatment barriers! We would love to talk about any hurdles you may be facing in receiving quality care. Reach out today by emailing hello@therapybeyondhealing.com to learn more about our mental health services. We look forward to hearing from you!