The British Journal of General Practice (BJGP) carried out research back in 2016, exploring access to mental health care. They found that social stigma was the most significant barrier to accessing treatment for mental health conditions.
So, in 2021, is a negative perception of people with poor mental health still preventing us from seeking help? Or have we become a more open society, accepting that poor mental health is as prevalent (and as normal) as poor physical health?
Stigma isn’t the only barrier to receiving treatment for mental health conditions. Other issues are socioeconomic, including a lack of regional availability, poor support through education, and even racial barriers.
In this article, we’re going to explore the barriers to mental healthcare, while explaining how SupportRoom is working tirelessly to break down the stigma and improve access to mental healthcare treatments.
The Barriers to mental healthcare in the UK
Psychological disorders are complex, and they require regular access to mental healthcare professionals and a varied approach to treatment. In the US, where citizens need to pay for their healthcare, there’s limited availability in many states to affordable mental healthcare.
In the UK, we’re lucky that we have the NHS – but over the past decade, budgets have been cut. You could argue that the government has INCREASED spending since 2010 by 1.6% per year. But – over the lifespan of the NHS – yearly funding increases have averaged at 3.7% annually. So, (when you take inflation into account), funding has remained relatively flat over the past decade.
According to FullFact.org, the NHS in England spend 10% of the overall healthcare budget on mental health services (based on 2018/2019 records). But according to Deloitte, stress-related illness accounts for almost 50% of all working days lost in the UK.
So, there’s a considerable disparity, here.
The figures aside, mental healthcare is treated as an afterthought in the UK – a second-class condition after physical health. But the pandemic makes this is a precarious strategy; as poor mental health throughout the UK soars. Source: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(20)30491-0/fulltext
According to MIND, many people seeking help for mental health issues are continuously hitting the same old barriers: from GP refusal to refer for mental health services to treatment just not being available in your area.
Accessing mental health care services in the UK
We paint a pretty bleak picture for anyone suffering from mental health problems, but help IS available – you just need to know where to look.
If your need is severe and potentially life-threatening, then use SupportRoom’s list of essential emergency services – don’t wait; seek help immediately.
Of course, there’s always your GP who may be able to refer you for mental healthcare access. Don’t lose faith; keep trying.
But, according to an article in Metro, many people are now pursuing private therapy where the NHS lets them down.
We’re certainly not going out of our way to diminish the brilliant job done by the NHS for many people in the UK. The NHS is wholly reliant on public funding and, if that’s held back, there’s nothing that can be done to improve the situation for people seeking mental health support.
Going private is an option for people with deep pockets, but:
And this is a big but:
The average fee for a face-to-face therapist is anything from £40 to over £100 per hour.
How SupportRoom is here to improve mental health care access
SupportRoom launches on Thursday, 14th January 2021.
SupportRoom provides access to ongoing mental health support 24/7. After a simple sign-up process, anyone can access our network of qualified therapists and counsellors, with an immediate, free support session.
We provide access to our invaluable services through smartphones, tablets, or desktop/laptop computers. Talk with our therapists via text- and voice messaging or face-to-face via video – all through a single app.
Our subscription fees are super-affordable and offer a range of flexible services and tools that help you track your progress as you go.
SupportRoom is Live
We’re not here to supersede the NHS, but we are here to solve the barriers to mental health care access.
SupportRoom is here to provide ongoing therapy through an easy-to-use web-app. You can access our services night or day; any day of the year.
If you’re having trouble accessing mental health care services in the UK, then give SupportRoom a try.
Remember: you’re never alone.
Stop coping. Start living. Talking helps.