#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek: What are the biggest barriers to seeking treatment?
May 14th, 2021, Christien Pheby

#MentalHealthAwarenessWeek: What are the biggest barriers to seeking treatment?

Data from YouGov Direct reveals that Brits are most likely to think that availability of public mental health services plays the largest role in preventing people from getting the care they need

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 runs from May 10-16, and it comes at a time when people may be more keenly aware of their psychological state than usual. Towards the end of last year, over half of the public (53%) said the COVID-19 pandemic had negatively affected their mental wellbeing.

But when it comes to getting people better, how important is “awareness” next to material concerns such as access to treatment?

Data from YouGov Direct conducted during Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 reveals that Britons are most likely to believe that low availability of public services play the biggest role in preventing people from accessing treatment. Two in five say capacity issues such as long wait times (40%) are the largest barrier to seeking help, with social stigma coming a distant second (22%). NHS England data from April 2021 revealed that the number of people on waiting lists for all NHS treatment was at 4.7 million people – the highest number since records began in 2007.

Poor awareness of mental health issues ranked lower down the list. Just 13% say personal ignorance of mental health issues was the most important factor stopping people from getting treatment, while one in ten cite poor awareness of mental health support services (10%).

Along gender lines, women are half as likely as men to say that low awareness of illnesses such as depression or anxiety do more to stop people from seeking treatment than anything else (Women: 18%; Men: 9%). Female Britons were also 13 percentage points more likely to say that availability of services was the highest barrier to treatment (women: 46%; men 33%). Both genders are most likely to say that low availability outweighs any other factor.

YouGov polled 1,200 British adults online on 11 May 2021 between 13:07 and 13:48 BST. The survey was carried out through YouGov Direct. Data is weighted by age, gender, education level, region, and social grade. Results are nationally representative of adults in Great Britain. The margin of error is 5% for the overall sample. Learn more about YouGov Direct.

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