While 51.5 million U.S. adults experience mental illness, or around 20% of the total population, fewer than half of those people received treatment in 2020.
People often may not seek mental health treatment because they believe they can’t afford it or can’t easily access such care. But negative attitudes or the stigma surrounding mental illness can also keep people from getting the care they need.
We asked our team at Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW), “Have you worked with members who resisted getting mental health services? What convinced them to get care?”
Spokane Regional Case Manager Amanda Presho, a licensed clinical social worker, says the first step is “finding out where their concern comes from.”
Amanda explains, “They may have had a bad experience before. I work to empower the member to address these concerns in a way they feel comfortable with.”
Bad experiences can come from providers, who may not take patients’ concerns seriously or might treat them unfairly. They can also come from outside the doctor’s office—from employers, landlords, even friends and family—through comments, attitudes, or outright discrimination. Or they can come from a community’s history of discrimination and abuse.
Once Amanda understands where a CHPW member’s hesitation is coming from, she can give better support around services they may need. “I provide education around the service so that they feel more comfortable with accessing it, and can make an informed decision based on the knowledge they’ve been provided. “
Have you or someone you love ever struggled with whether to seek mental health care?
You’re not alone. Your mental health services are covered through Apple Health. Learn more about resources that can help you or a loved one whether as a CHPW member or as a Washington resident.
The Washington Listens Helpline is a program that supports anyone in Washington experiencing stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is composed of regional partners across the state who operate teams of support specialists to help you through this uncertain and difficult time. Call 1-833-681-0211 toll-free from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, Monday through Friday. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m, Saturday and Sunday or access online at www.walistens.org.