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Health Insights Illinois

Invisible forces shaping our mental well-being

two men sitting on bench consoling each other for positive mental health

Mental health illness is a prominent issue that affects millions of individuals. According to the CDC, mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It impacts our decision-making processes, affecting how we think, feel, act, handle stress, and relate to others. About one in five American adults experience a mental illness each year, and many lack access to services.  

What may contribute to the lack of access?

Financial constraints are a significant factor in the limited availability of mental health services. Mental health services can be prohibitively expensive, especially for those without insurance coverage. The costs associated with therapy sessions, medication, and other treatments create a barrier that hinders access to necessary assistance. A person with limited financial means may be unable to afford the ongoing expenses of mental health treatment, resulting in inadequate or incomplete care.  

Geographic obstacles can also contribute to the limited availability of mental health services. Certain regions, particularly rural or remote communities, suffer from a shortage of mental health professionals. This scarcity leads to long wait times and limited access to the necessary support individuals require and may cause their condition to worsen. 

The prevailing social stigma discourages people from seeking help. They may fear judgment or discrimination. This stigma perpetuates the notion that mental health is a sign of weakness or personal failure, further deterring individuals from reaching out for support. A person experiencing depression may feel ashamed and hesitant to seek professional help for fear of being labeled,

Language and cultural barriers also pose obstacles to accessing mental health care. Individuals from diverse backgrounds may experience difficulties finding mental health services offered in their own language or face cultural misunderstandings that hinder effective treatment.  

Many individuals lack knowledge about the mental health services available to them or fail to fully understand their own mental health needs. This lack of awareness prevents people from seeking help and finding the necessary support. Someone experiencing symptoms of anxiety may not recognize these signs as indicators of a mental health condition, leading to delayed or inadequate intervention.  


Educating the public about mental health conditions, symptoms, and available resources may empower individuals to seek help. Leveraging telehealth and other online platforms can improve access for individuals facing difficulty in accessing traditional in-person services.  

Combating the stigma, promoting mental health awareness, and education is vital. This can be achieved through public awareness campaigns, education, and fostering an inclusive society that understands health as an integration of social, physical, and mental well-being. Creating safe spaces for individuals to openly discuss their mental health experiences will help reduce stigma and encourage help-seeking behavior.