Making Mental Health Treatment More Accessible for AllMaking Mental Health Treatment More Accessible for All

When people think about treatment for mental health, the first thing that may come to mind is visiting a psychologist or a psychiatrist in a traditional clinical setting. However, increasingly, there are mental health resources available outside of these types of environments. This can be important in allowing more people to access mental health services since a number of factors might hold them back, including cost and ease of actually getting to a location to seek treatment.

Telephone and Texting

Crisis telephone lines have been around for a while, and these continue to play an important part in helping people with their mental health. However, they don't work for everyone. Many people may find it difficult to talk about depression or other issues they are having. Texting can feel far less intimidating. This may be particularly true for younger people, who are comfortable connecting with others across a digital environment and who may also be uncomfortable using the phone to talk.

Telehealth

Telehealth is another low-friction way for people to seek help. Available in a variety of contexts, it is growing in importance as part of more comprehensive mental health services on college campuses. Even when a campus offers robust mental health support, students may hesitate to access it. Some may want a quick, convenient way to check in and see if accessing these services is appropriate for them. Others may simply be hesitant for various reasons to go in person. Telehealth makes it easy for students to connect at their convenience from the privacy of their dorm room or off-campus housing.

Peer Counseling and Support

From in-person support groups to calling crisis lines to online resources, there are many options for people to seek help from peers as opposed to professionals. Some people may feel more comfortable talking to people they see as their peers. Peer support may be easier to access than professional help and is usually free. Some people might appreciate that they are able to speak to others who have had similar experiences and challenges to theirs. Peer counseling and support can also involve pairing a new person with a more experienced member of a support group, and this can give the new person access to support whenever they need it, which might not always be possible with a professional.

Other Approaches

As supplements to treatment, many people find that certain lifestyle changes can be beneficial to their mental health. Many of these changes may be recommended by the professionals they are working with. Some of these changes involve simple self-care routines that can have big benefits, such as good sleep hygiene and eating certain foods. For some people, regular exercise can help. Ecotherapy is an approach to mental health that involves people getting out into nature, doing anything from gardening to hiking to trash cleanup. While ecotherapy can be practiced informally by people who are struggling with their mental health or working on maintaining mental health gains, it can also be a more formal and structured type of therapy offered by a professional.

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

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