Why Don’t People Get Help for Mental Illness?

by Natasha Tracy at “Bipolar Burble”

There is a lot of help available for people with a mental illness. There are hotlines, mental health resource locators, therapists, doctors and many others. And yet, many people with a mental illness continue to live every day with bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses without getting help.

And what’s worse is that we know that by not getting help, or by delaying help, the course of the overall illness and outcome is worse.

So why don’t people get help for mental illness?

People are Scared of Mental Illness

The number one reason people don’t get help for mental illness is because they are scared. People are scared of their illness and they’re certainly scared of help for that mental illness. Honestly, it’s a complicated piece of psychology, but in a nutshell – if you don’t admit to the mental illness, then it isn’t really there. It’s the head in the sand approach. It happens with all illnesses. No one wants to be sick so they deny it and just hope it’ll go away.

Of course, mental illness doesn’t tend to just “go away” on its own.

I understand fear of mental illness. Between the media stereotypes and common misconceptions about mental illness, it’s no wonder that no one wants to admit to it. And the misunderstandings of the general public and the nasty things people say about mental illness don’t help either.

And it’s awfully scary to face the dark side of yourself where the mental illness lives. It is nearly impossible to admit to suicidal or self-harm feelings because you want to judge them and you feel terrible about them and you’re worried about how other people will judge you because of them.

The trouble is – if you don’t admit there is a problem, you will never find a solution.



  1. This is very one sided. I’m 23, female and have had ptsd/borderline personality disorder for over 7 years now. I have known of my problem and never was under the impression it would just “go away” on its own, but I still have had trouble seeking help. I’ve been to one on one counseling, group therapy, and medication. All of which I could not commit to.In the behavioral health community of where I live, Ive come across many other people with similar disorders who have had the same problems sticking with a recovery plan. Keep in mind most of these people are also very self admiting of their problems and willing to discuss them openly. Sometimes we can be well aware of what help we need to get and still not have the confidence to find or even keep that help. It is a mental illness. Usually with mental illness one answer is never the answer. To say that people don’t get help because they don’t admit their sick is a gross over simplification. IMO. 😀

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