The Call Center’s Role in Behavior Counseling
The term “mental health” refers to the condition of a person’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. The state of one’s mental health affects how they feel, think, and behave. At times, an individual may experience one or more adverse mental health concerns. Mental health issues are common and treatable. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NAMI), 1 in 5 adults in the United States experiences mental illness in any given year.
It is crucial that people have access to mental health services. Mental illness is a disease and sometimes it may cause an individual to experience behavior that poses an immediate threat to themselves, to people around them, or to property. Unfortunately, research indicates that roughly two-thirds of people in the United States, with diagnosable mental health conditions, do not receive services.
Barriers to mental health treatment are being reduced by creating a network of care through technology. Call centers provide a critical service in this endeavor by using state-of-the-art communication systems to improve the state of mental health care.
Barriers to Mental Health Treatment
Many studies and surveys have been done to uncover why the majority of Americans with mental health conditions do not receive care. The most common reasons discovered include financial hardships, racial and cultural differences and misunderstandings, lack of mental health services, and social stigma.
To better understand how these challenges are experienced in the real world, below are some ways people who live in rural communities may experience these obstacles:
- Transportation hardship. Access to care may require time off work and lost wages for long-distance travel and/or coordinating and paying for transport if a reliable vehicle isn’t available (low-cost public transport usually isn’t an option).
- Absence of culturally-competent care. According to the Morbidity and Mortality Week Report (MMWR) published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in November 2017, more than twenty percent of rural residents identify as American Indians or persons of color. Multiple studies indicate that racially and ethnically diverse populations contend with language and cultural barriers when accessing healthcare.
- Shortage of mental health professionals. Rural and low-income areas have the lowest percent of behavioral health workers in the United States, due in part to billing restrictions and low provider reimbursement rates, especially for Medicaid – which has higher enrollment in rural populations.
- Lack of anonymity. It can be difficult to maintain privacy in close-knit, rural communities. Many people choose to suffer with their condition(s) instead of seeking help because of the social stigma associated with mental illness.
This post will continue with part two - Crisis Call Center Care.