Asking for help is not always easy. Even though outpatient services offer a convenient way for people to receive mental health services, many still avoid them. Whether it be because of stigma, the fear of costs or lack of knowledge, there are still many concerns with seeking mental health care. However, addressing mental health concerns is critical for maintaining long-term well-being.

Canyon Creek Behavioral Health is here to break down the barriers that prevent people from seeking the mental health support they need. We have identified the top 5 reasons people don’t seek outpatient services and how to overcome them to get the help you or your loved one needs. By exploring these obstacles and providing guidance, we hope to empower you to take the first steps toward healing.

What Are Outpatient Services?

Mental health outpatient services refer to medical treatment and therapy sessions that individuals can receive without being admitted to a hospital. These services are designed to provide support and treatment for mental health issues while allowing individuals to continue living at home. 

Outpatient programs also provide more structure and support than traditional counseling. There are two types of outpatient programs: intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) and partial hospitalization programs (PHPs).

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are a type of outpatient service that offers more intensive treatment than traditional outpatient care. They typically involve a structured schedule of therapy sessions and group activities, but patients are still able to live at home during treatment. IOPs are often recommended for individuals who require more support than traditional outpatient therapy but do not need to be hospitalized.

Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), on the other hand, provide a higher level of care than IOPs. They involve a structured and intensive treatment program that typically lasts for several hours each day, similar to inpatient care. However, patients in PHPs are not required to stay overnight in a hospital. PHPs are often used as a step-down program for individuals transitioning from inpatient care to outpatient treatment.

Reasons People Avoid Outpatient Services

When people think of outpatient services, there are many unknowns. This can make it difficult to take the first steps and put one’s mental health first. However, by understanding the reasons people avoid outpatient services, we can also outline solutions that can set you on the right path.

Fear of cost

The Problem: One of the main reasons people avoid outpatient services is the fear of cost. Many people believe that outpatient services are expensive and they cannot afford them. While there is definitely a cost component to seeking outpatient treatment, this fear often holds people back from seeking the mental health care they need. In the long run, avoiding treatment due to the fear of cost can do more damage than good.

The Solution: While the fear of mental health costs is not unfounded, the reality is that outpatient services can be a cost-efficient way to receive the care you need. Unlike inpatient services, where you live in a residential treatment facility, outpatient services allow you to receive treatment while living at home. Because of this, outpatient treatment only includes the costs of the specific treatment you receive, as opposed to paying for the cost of living in a facility too. Additionally, nowadays many insurance plans cover outpatient services, making them more affordable.

Lack of knowledge

The Problem: Another reason people avoid outpatient services is the lack of knowledge about what they offer. Many individuals are not aware of the range of services that can be provided on an outpatient basis, and they may assume that they need to be admitted to a hospital for any medical treatment.

The Solution: Lack of knowledge can be a significant barrier to receiving mental health care, but it is one that can be overcome. Becoming more aware of what outpatient services are and how they can help can make people feel empowered when making decisions about their mental health. You can do this by speaking to your healthcare provider or seeking out resources online.

Fear of pain or discomfort

The Problem: People may avoid seeking outpatient services because they fear pain or discomfort during their sessions. Sometimes, they may know that by going into an outpatient program, they are likely going to have to deal with complex emotions. At other times, this fear of pain or discomfort is rooted in misconceptions of what outpatient services are supposed to be.

The Solution: The truth is, that outpatient treatment may not always be easy. Sometimes difficult emotions, feelings and relationships are brought up. This may be uncomfortable in the moment, but it can help you achieve a healthier future. If you are concerned about the potential discomfort of an outpatient program, speak to your provider ahead of time. They can keep your fears and concerns in mind when figuring out how to structure your treatment. Remember, mental health professionals are trained to provide compassionate treatment.

Lack of trust in healthcare providers

The Problem: Another reason people may avoid seeking outpatient services is a lack of trust in healthcare providers. This can either be because of past negative experiences or a general mistrust of the healthcare system. This lack of trust, however, can make it difficult for people to receive the mental health care they need.

The Solution: Overcoming this challenge is not always easy. One way people can gain more trust is by taking the time to research and find a healthcare provider who specializes in the specific mental health issues they have. One of the benefits of outpatient services is that they allow for the care you receive to be individualized to your needs. This gives you more power and control over your health and future.

Fear of stigma

The Problem: One of the most important reasons why individuals avoid seeking outpatient services is the fear of stigma. The stigma surrounding mental health can lead to negative perceptions and stereotypes, causing people to feel ashamed or embarrassed about seeking help. This fear of judgment from others can prevent people from gaining access to the necessary support they need. Overcoming this stigma is critical to prioritize your mental health and well-being.

The Solution: Overcoming this fear can take time, but it is possible. Educating yourself and becoming more aware of the benefits of outpatient services can help you gain the courage to seek help. In addition to this, it is important to remember that despite what others may think, prioritizing your well-being is never something to be ashamed of.

Get The Help You Need

Outpatient services offer a convenient and cost-effective way for individuals to receive mental health treatment. However, many people still avoid seeking these services due to the fears, stigmas and potential costs associated with treatment. By addressing these reasons and gaining education and reassurance, you can take the steps you need to get your mental health back on track.

Have you or someone you know avoided seeking outpatient services? Canyon Creek Behavioral Health is here to help. Our behavioral health facility provides both inpatient and outpatient programs for mental health and behavioral health issues.

Give us a call at 254-410-1819 or complete this form to get started on your mental health journey today.


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