There are many reasons people avoid mental health treatment.

The Reasons People Avoid Mental Health Treatment

Nearly half of the United States’ population will experience a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. Despite the stigma, struggling with a mental illness is a normal part of existence, especially for urban populations where the percentage of cases is substantially higher. Perceptions of mental illness have drastically changed, allowing people to access real help more easily than ever before. Unfortunately, that does not mean that all negative associations have disappeared. On average, only 41% of people dealing with a mental illness receive professional aid in a given year. The result is that 59% of people are trying to control a serious health issue alone. But why do people avoid mental health treatment?

According to data published in Psychology Today, the reasons behind so many patients avoiding professional treatment are complex and often deeply personal. However, this information does emphasize three primary categories of reasoning that prevent many individuals from seeking treatment for mental illness.


In the initial study, 35.3% of all participants cited a concern that they might be perceived differently if anyone knew about their mental illness. Many were concerned about confidentiality and whether their neighbors or employer might find out that they were undergoing treatment.

These anxieties are common among people with mental illnesses. Anxiety itself is a common symptom. However, their concerns don’t exist in a vacuum. For patients with a wide range of mental health struggles, their anxieties lock onto pre-existing stigmas that do exist in our society.

Fortunately, HIPPA covers treatment for a mental health illness. This means your personal data can only be used for necessary operations. In reality, you have complete control over who knows you are seeking treatment.


Given the nature of our current healthcare system, it is not surprising that 65.9% of participants were concerned about cost. Many worried that their health insurance might not cover care. Or that the cost of treatment may be too high even with insurance. The study emphasizes that cost concerns also seemed driven by perception rather than an attempt to receive treatment.

Patients concerned about the cost of receiving professional help should speak with their primary care physician. Also, we advise having a consultation with a mental health specialist to determine available solutions. These parties can typically help you to navigate the insurance system to receive as much aid as possible, making treatment a workable solution for you. However, Cognitive Behavior Associates has compiled a useful list of resources for therapy to help people take the first step towards a healthier tomorrow. We hope this list benefits patients who may not be ready to open up to their doctor or need help locating services near them,


The last category may seem somewhat generic, but 58.9% of respondents suggested a reason they didn’t seek help was due to misunderstanding the nature of their illness. Many initially thought they wouldn’t need help. Or they worried they might be forced to take medications against their will. Others assumed that they would be able to fix it themselves.

The heart of the issue is that we, as a society, still fail to equate a mental health illness with a physical illness. We know that we can’t fix a broken leg or a malfunctioning heart valve. Yet we believe that those dealing with depression, anxiety, and other serious mental health issues can fix it by putting their minds to it. It is not that simple.

Finding Help When You Need It

Despite all of these misgivings, the truth is that mental illness is like any other serious health issue. You can’t solve it on your own. And a professional is best suited to helping you navigate your way through your illness. For a positive, scientifically-backed approach to your mental health treatment, contact Cognitive Behavior Associates to schedule an initial consultation.We are top providers of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Los Angeles and have served countless patients. We offer treatments for disorders ranging from social anxiety to bipolar disorder. We look forward toward helping you move toward a future of mental health. Don’t let the reasons people avoid mental health treatment keep you away from a clearer sense of self and purpose.