Growing up, I never really understood the importance of carrying out a healthy lifestyle and promoting healthy mental health habits. I often separated mental health and physical health, I focused on my physical well being without understanding that the two things go hand in hand. It wasn’t until high school that I realized how important it was to create a healthy routine. I think many individuals relate to this way of thinking. Often, the barriers within accessing mental healthcare stem from ignorance and lack of mental health care services. In my case, I grew up ignorant and fell in the trap of stigmatizing mental health. However, I was able to overcome this by educating myself about mental health and understanding there are more ways to build this healthy routine. As a student, I took advantage of the mental health advisors we had on campus and opened myself to my peers and colleagues about the challenges I was going through. Oftentimes, we don’t see these barriers that create a guise for our understanding of mental health. Maybe it was the low socioeconomic background or the lack of insurance which lead to an individual not being able to seek treatment. Or perhaps it was the lack of available treatment types and the undersized mental health workforce. Although there are challenges, there are other alternatives available in seeking treatment.
Understanding the available routes in seeking mental healthcare is a critical first step in overcoming these barriers. If you are an individual that comes from a low socioeconomic background or do not have the proper insurance that covers care, typically there are federally qualified health centers, medicaid can offer free therapy, and telehealth where you can talk to professionals at a low cost. If the concern is the lack of available treatment types and undersized mental health workforce, researchers and scientists are continually developing and understanding new treatments that can best suit the individual. Furthermore, there are new organizations continuously popping up that are advocating and promoting for healthier mental health lifestyles.
Organizations like Alonesy value the connection between the mentor and the mentee; they also value the trust and safety component of being vulnerable about how you are doing mentally rather than crisis situations. I think breaking that initial barrier of fear of reaching out for help from others is really important. I think being introduced to the availability of these resources, although terrifying, results in better mental health lifestyles and it’s something I would’ve appreciated learning about sooner rather than later. I believe knowing this information as a high schooler or even at a younger age would’ve helped me out sooner, but I’m glad there are so many more opportunities out there currently. Despite the barriers in seeking treatment, there are a multitude of ways to overcome this; just remember to take it day by day and prioritize your physical and mental well being.
Blog Post by Christine Audrey Cruz