People still afraid to seek help for mental health difficulties

Despite advancements in mental health treatment, people are still afraid to seek help for mental health difficulties according to a report released today.

A recent internal survey among service users of St. Patrick’s showed that many people live with the distressing symptoms of mental ill-health for long periods without accessing mental health advice or treatment.

Forty-one per cent of those surveyed had lived with their symptoms for at least one year before seeking help.

It seems that stigma is still a huge factor in people being afraid to seek help, with thirty-eight per cent of people feeling ashamed in asking for help.

Prof. Jim Lucey, Medical Director at St. Patrick’s said although a lot of work had been done to address the stigma of mental illness, a lot more was still to do. “Nobody should feel ashamed for being ill. Like every other illness, early intervention is essential”, he said.

“In today’s society it is inexcusable that lack of awareness of mental health issues still causes such significant delay for people seeking treatment.”

 

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “People still afraid to seek help for mental health difficulties

  1. Peter Barrins September 13, 2011 / 11:38 pm

    I’m not so sure that there is still a stigma attached to mental health issues in Ireland. I think there is a lack of understanding particularly among older people where the attitude was ‘pull yourself together and get on with it’. One of the main problems in Ireland is not that people are reluctant to seek help for mental health issues but that help is hard to find and the right help is often simply not there. Sure it is possible to attend a GP but the usual response is to prescribe anti-depressant medication. Access to counsellors and psychologists, unless you can afford to attend privately, is very limited and waiting times are lengthy. Depression is not well understood – a great deal of depression and suicides stem from reactive depression which is not particularly responsive to medication. At present, for example, a lot of men aged 20-50 have lost their jobs and with this their sense of purpose, belonging and self-worth. Medication is not going to cure this – it may dull the symptoms but it will not address the underlying problem. When these men do reach out, often in a great deal of pain, there is very little real and consistent support available. I see young people within the third level sector many of whom feel hopeless and are in a great deal of emotional distress. Again they feel isolated, insecure, appear to have low levels of self-worth and self-esteem and again medication will dull the symptoms rather than providing a solution. In my view, based to some extent on my own experience, depression stems from a lack of positive relationship with oneself and a failure to value and love oneself. These issues can only be dealt with by counselling, education, human love, empathy and affirmation. It is a society wide problem that requires a society wide solution and an acknowledgement that every person has an intrinsic value irrespective of their external possessions, appearance, achievements or any other external measure. In the quest for material gain and the constant media space given to economic and financial issues, it is very easy for a person to believe that if they don’t measure up or have failed on these fronts they are failures and of no worth – this message or soundtrack MUST change. At present I believe that many private counsellors and psychologists are under-utilised – surely something could be done to allow people to access these resources via the public health system. I heard Enda Kenny speak at the ‘People of the Year’ awards on Saturday night as he presented an award to Joan Freeman founder of Pieta House – I sincerely hope that Enda Kenny’s words are transformed into real, on the ground support and assistance for those suffering from mental health issues.

  2. Peter Barrins September 13, 2011 / 11:26 pm

    I’m not so sure that there is still a stigma attached to mental health issues in Ireland. I think there is a lack of understanding particularly among older people where the attitude was ‘pull yourself together and get on with it’. One of the main problems in Ireland is not that people are reluctant to seek help for mental health issues but that help is hard to find and the right help is often simply not there. Sure it is possible to attend a GP but the usual response is to prescribe anti-depressant medication. Access to counsellors and psychologists, unless you can afford to attend privately, is very limited and waiting times are lenghty. Depression is not well understood – a great deal of depression and suicides stem from reactive depression which is not particularly responsive to medication. At present, for example, a lot of men between 20-50 have lost their jobs and with this their sense of purpose, belonging and self worth. Medication is not going to cure this – it might dull the symptoms but it will not address the underlying problem. When these men do reach out, often in a great deal of pain, there is very little real and consistent support available. I see young people within the third level sector many of whom feel hopeless and are in a great deal of emotional distress. Again they feel isolated, insecure and seem to have low levels of self worth and self esteem and again medication will dull the symtoms but it is not the solution. In my view and based on my own experience depression stems from a lack of positive relationship with oneself and a failure to value and love yourself. These issues can only be dealt with by counselling, education and human love and affirmation. It is a society wide problem that requires a society wide solution and an acknowldgement that every person has an intrinsic value irrespective of their external possessions, appearance or achievements. In our quest for material gain and the constant media space given to economics and financial issues it is very easy for a person to believe that if they don’t measure up or hae failed on these fronts that they are failures and of no worth – this message or soundtrack MUST change.

  3. Marilyn July 14, 2011 / 3:34 pm

    Stigma kills! I experienced the worst of it within my own family who still do not understand that a mood disorer is not a choice. Flip side is that I’ve been able to help those who came my way through their own nightmare. It seems to me that medical care for mental illness is still in the Witch Doctor phase, though it’s better than it was durng the days I suffered, so sick with Depression while raising two little kids. At least now there are meds, though not as good as they will be one day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s