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Published on April 17, 2021

Survey: Time, privacy and access among barriers to seeking mental health careNearly 500 CCHC employees shared candid feedback about seeking emotional & mental health support

By Kumara Sidhartha MD, MPH, Medical Director, CCHC Employee Health Plan

The last year has challenged our healthcare team in ways that were previously unimaginable. As our Employee Health and Behavioral Health teams considered ways to ease the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, a key question arose: For healthcare professionals, what are the barriers for accessing mental health services?

The Healthy Minds survey intended to understand the trends in beliefs about mental health disorders, and the effectiveness of treatments for such disorders. Additionally, the survey sought to understand the level of participation in such treatments and any barriers related to accessing the mental health services available for the employees including the confidential Employee Assistance Program.

The two-week long survey had a sizable sample of nearly 500 responses.

Five Key Themes Identified in the Healthy Minds Survey

  • Large majority of the respondents agreed that having a mental health disorder is nothing to be ashamed of nor is a sign weakness
  • Only 10% of respondents strongly agreed that people with severe mental health disorder can fully recover with treatment. In contrast, evidence-based science validates such full recovery
  • Only 1 in 4 responded that most people they know with mental or behavioral health problems go to a healthcare professional to get help. This suggests that there is a gap in seeking care
  • Top three perceived barriers for seeking mental healthcare were time constraints, concerns about confidentiality and lack of providers
  • Physical exercise and seeing a counselor/therapist appeared to be the top two mental health support services utilized by those who have tried solutions

Bar chart illustrating survey results

Dr. Ben Legesse, the Chief of Behavioral Health Services at CCHC, had the following comment in response to the survey: “There are several modes of effective treatment options for various mental illnesses.”

He went on to encourage people who need those services to seek help from professionals.

Cape Cod Healthcare is committed to supporting the emotional wellbeing of our employees and this survey results gives us valuable directions for areas to focus our efforts on. As immediate next steps, we are actively working to launch a one-stop resource hub for all things aimed at your emotional wellbeing and enhance the visibility and accessibility of already available services such as Employee Assistance Program. Please stay tuned for more details on these initiatives. In the meantime, we hope that you are checking out the recently launched Happify app, a mobile/online tool to help improve your emotional health.

For healthy minds,

Dr. Sid