Barriers to mental health & how to overcome them

Different forms and severities of mental illness are all too common in our society.  People struggle with anxiety and/or depression on a daily basis. Often they struggle in silence, putting on a false front to people around them. All, illusionI am sure, want to rid themselves of these maladies but often there are barriers preventing them from getting “over the hump”.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons that people who want to have a better life for themselves, end up living a life that falls short of achieving this.

Some of the barriers to people to people achieving am improved level of mental health are listed below. Be aware that the list is not all inclusive nor is every point listed below relevant to every reader.

  1. There is a certain amount of stigma in society toward people struggling with behavioral health issues. Society minimizes the extent and depth of this problem.  There is an implicit and explicit pressure on the part of society to reject anything that doesn’t conform to a perceived norm. Anyone who deviates from that perceived norm is labelled in a negative way.  Thus far too many people avoid seeking the help they need for fear of being labeled.
  2.  Often people live in a less than healthy environment but are so used to behaving  a certain way that they become oblivious to their surroundings.  The ill effects of such constant exposure are subtle and are often minimized and rationalized as just a moodiness and an emotional upheaval that will right itself with time.
  3. I have found that people come into treatment in order to feel better, not necessarily be better. Be aware that if you’re in treatment and the initial crisis that initially got you into treatment passes, motivation to continue diminishes. Therefore, know that real change takes time. Resist the temptation to discontinue treatment prematurely. Doing the work necessary to achieve mental health is worth the work.
  4. We are all creature of habit. This is no less the case with people struggling with behavioral health issues. Maintaining years of viewing yourself in a negative light tends to be reinforced in later years. As a result change, even positive change, is resisted on an unconscious level.  Therefore, be aware that this is a natural phenomena and should not be viewed as a weakness on your part.
  5. Unworked through issues with your parents get repeated in the here and now. Though no longer working, these learned behaviors becomes entrenched and difficult to eradicate. As a result, you may find therapy frustrating and think you’re not getting anywhere with it.  In spite initial slow results, it is necessary to commit yourself to treatment over the long haul.
  6. Lack of sufficient motivation is a decided barrier to change. To keep trying to change long standing dysfunctional behavior is difficult to sustain over time. Don’t let the lack of sufficient movement occurring quickly stand in your way of breaking down those barriers to achieving  mental health.

whatmattersThere are always reasons to resist change. Most of them are rationalizations that results in avoiding the discomfort with going through the process of changing. 

This is were working with a counselor who has the expertise you can trust and whom you are comfortable  with is very important. It can not be minimized the positive affect discussing your feelings with an impartial professional can have.  As you desire to obtain a better sense of who you are as a person and embrace that knowledge, the barriers to achieving mental health will slowly dissipate.


Any questions, comments or suggestions can be directed to me, Ray Shocki PhD, LCSW, LMFT at