Millennials have a pretty hard time making money. The rate of inflation seems to have surpassed the minimum wage, leaving many millennials struggling to make ends meet. When the younger generations are having a hard time trying to afford a roof over their heads while they’re going to school, they start to put other responsibilities on the back burner.
One of the things that millennials often shy away from taking care of their mental health (ironically, they will leave jobs due to mental disorders). This isn’t necessarily because of their views on mental health: while mental illness was once stigmatized and seen as a sign of weakness, nowadays the importance of mental health care is recognized among people of all ages.
No, it’s not for lack of concern that millennials aren’t seeking mental health care – it’s because, for many of them, it’s simply unaffordable. With mental health problems on the rise, one might expect that more and more millennials would start seeking treatment for their mental illnesses – but unfortunately, the opposite is true.
What is it that’s driving millennials away from mental health problems?
1. The Problem of Insurance and Mental Health
One of the biggest factors driving millennials away from seeking mental health treatment is insurance.
While research, news articles, and public opinion all seem to recognize that the most important treatment for mental health problems is intensive therapy, it seems that many people are still having a hard time getting their insurance programs to cover the cost of mental health treatment.
While there are some insurance companies that do cover mental health concerns, many people find that they have a hard time being accepted by these companies. People who are paid disability money for mental health problems, for example, may receive enough funding to survive, but not enough to seek proper treatment.
In 2008, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act made it a requirement for large health coverage plans to place just as much emphasis on mental health problems as they did on physical issues. While there has been some success to this – most importantly, the fact that insurance companies can no longer charge higher deductibles to mental health patients – there are still many issues that impede millennials from seeking proper treatment.
2. Therapists Refusing Insurance
Even with all these changes to the mental health scene, there’s still one huge problem: it’s hard to find a therapist who accepts insurance. Psychiatrists are the least likely medical professionals to accept insurance, with as little as 55% accepting insurance.
This isn’t because therapists are unreasonable people, though. Quite the opposite. It’s because insurance companies make it hard for therapists to accept insurance.
One of the reasons for this is because the insurance companies that approach therapists tend to undercut their value. They offer insurance rates at a lower rate than the therapist would charge for their work.
Furthermore, insurance companies are generally more willing to offer their services to more ‘immediate’ health concerns. For example, an individual who has had a heart attack is more likely going to shell out money for health insurance than someone who is simply struggling with depression or anxiety.
3. Band-Aid Solutions and Alternatives
With the high amount of mental health professionals refusing to accept insurance, many people have begun turning to other options such as ecounseling. While these alternatives may be effective in the short-term, they are really just band-aid solutions that don’t address the root cause of the issue.
Many therapists and psychiatrists refuse to accept insurance, which is a huge barrier for millennials who are hoping to seek treatment for mental health disorders. While online counseling or telehealth may be effective temporary solutions, these temporary solutions won’t solve the problem.
It’s important to work towards developing a system that allows therapists and counselors to comfortably accept insurance so that everyone can receive equal mental health treatment.