Mental health was not always taken as seriously as it is today. Although there have been great strides in the medical care and acceptance of mental illness, there is still more work to be done. Many who struggle with mental health problems have worries such as how others will view them, what kind of treatment is available, and if they can get the help they need.
With a better understanding of mental health and a stronger sense of advocacy, more people feel the freedom of speaking up about their own mental health. This has led to the understanding of just how common mental illness is among the population. Mental health struggles are currently at an all-time high, and many might feel at a loss over what they can do to help themselves.
There are more struggles than simply the obvious regarding mental health. Though most might not put the words anxiety, depression, and life insurance in the same sentence, the fact of the matter is that mental illness can cause a lot of difficulty in obtaining insurance. Some may even be denied due to their health conditions.
Seeking treatment can be a massive help to those struggling with their mental health. Treatment options for mental illness can be as diverse as the people who experience them.
The Statistics of Mental Health
Mental illness is far more common than many people might realize, with statistics that may come as a surprise to some.
- 20.6% of adults in the U.S. have experienced mental health illness.
- 5.2% of adults in the U.S. have experienced serious mental illness.
- 16.5% of children or teens in the U.S. have experienced a mental illness.
Mental illness affects people of all ages, backgrounds, and demographics. The most commonly experienced mental illness is anxiety, followed by depression.
The statistics of those seeking treatment for their mental illnesses may bring some hope.
- 44.8% of adults in the U.S. got treatment for their mental health condition.
- 65.5% of adults in the U.S. were treated for their serious mental health condition.
- 50.6% of youths in the U.S. got treatment for their mental health condition.
While those numbers are promising, there is still the lingering word of suicide that surrounds the mental health world. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and for people ages 10-34, it is the second leading cause of death.
Although great strides are being made, those numbers can still be startling. Expanding therapy treatment options and offering easier access may help those struggling and bring suicide statistics down.
Treatment Options for Mental Health Improvement
No two people are alike, meaning the treatment for one might not work for another. There are more options available than the classic one-on-one therapy session. While this option may be great for some people, others may need something a little more out of the box.
Luckily, as the understanding of mental health grows, more creative treatment options become available.
This is the option most people likely think of when they imagine a therapy treatment. Talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy, is sitting down with a licensed therapist in a safe and comfortable environment. Sometimes these can even be done in online sessions.
During the time spent in the office, the therapist will listen and provide feedback and insight on the conversation. Topics may range significantly, all depending on what the person seeking treatment is struggling with.
It is common for people who wish to find a more creative treatment option to begin their journey in this setting. The therapist takes time to learn about and understand the patient, helping them find a treatment option that might work best for their needs.
Some seeking treatment for their mental illness may find themselves most comfortable in a group therapy or support group session. These are often led by licensed therapists or counselors and center around a commonality shared by those in the group.
Being surrounded by others in a similar situation can often remove some of the pressure felt by those nervous about speaking about their mental health. Many can find strength and comfort knowing they are not alone in their struggles, and some might build solid and lasting friendships through those they meet within the group.
There is a lot to be said about the positive impact physical activity has on the mind and mood. Exercise therapy may be highly beneficial to those struggling with their mental health. It has been shown to improve the symptoms of anxiety and depression and reduce substance abuse habits.
Options such as group fitness classes, accountability partners, and even talk therapy while doing activities such as walking are great options for someone who feels they may benefit best from exercise therapy.
There are a countless number of exercise options as well, for any experience and endurance range. Some might enjoy simple walks, while others may find dancing lifts their spirits.
Those who enjoy the companionship of animals may find their niche in animal therapy. Animals provide great comfort to many people who struggle with mental illness, and using them in treatment can have a substantial impact. Being with animals can also lower stress, anxiety, and fears.
Some therapies involve those seeking treatment to visit animals for their therapy sessions, while others may enjoy an emotional support animal who lives with them and provides continuous comfort.
Choosing talk therapy before moving into animal therapy may help determine which option is the right choice for an individual patient. Since all needs and severity levels differ, a therapist can help gauge the need of a patient and move forward from there.
Mental Health Moving Forward
Though many strides have been made, there is still a long way to go in the world of mental health. The numbers of those seeking treatment must rise before suicide rates can drop. The more spoken of and understood mental illness becomes, the more those experiencing it may feel able to speak up and seek treatment.
Through different therapy options, which continue to evolve and grow, mental health can continue to get the care it has always deserved. And those who struggle can find a treatment option that works for them.
And hopefully one day, mental health will be covered as a normal part of our healthcare and health insurance system.
Alexandra Arcand writes and researches for the life insurance comparison site, EffortlessInsurance.com. She is an advocate for a better understanding of mental health and treatment options.