More and more I’ve been seeing people post things such as: “stop faking a mental illness” or “if you have a mental illness, stop self-diagnosing and just get help.”
Mental illnesses are far more common than most people think. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (nearly 43 million) suffer from a mental illness in any given year, 1 in 25 adults in the U.S. (10 million) suffer from a severe mental illness, and 1 in 5 children from age 13-18 suffer from a mental illness as well. Close to a quarter of everyone in the U.S. are suffering from a mental illness. But of these people, about half are left untreated. Why?
There’s a lot of reasons why mental illness is left untreated; some people just deny they have a mental illness and refuse to seek help. But a very prevalent reason why so many with mental illnesses don’t seek help is because they cannot afford to. Therapy alone (not going to a psychiatrist and receiving medicine) can cost anywhere from $50-240 for just a one hour session. To visit a psychiatrist you can expect to pay $400-500 for the first visit and $100 for services moving forward. On top of that, medication such as antidepressants can cost anywhere from $30-200 a month.
It’s no secret that mental illness is more prevalent in lower social classes - the same social classes that literally struggle to buy food for themselves on a daily basis. Some people know they have a mental illness, but they will have to choose between getting medication or eating for the month. What are they supposed to do?
It’s not as simple as “go get some help.” It is literally impossible for some people and I’m so sick of others making mental illness not seem serious unless it is professionally diagnosed. You know your body, and most of the time you know when something’s wrong (although I know this isn’t the case for everyone). Many who have mental illnesses know they have one, but they can’t afford the proper treatment. That doesn’t make their mental illness any less real, and it’s about time we stop acting like it.