Your goal as a mental health treatment center is to assist every addiction and mental health persons served that comes through your doors and provide them the tools they’ll need to get back on their feet. In fact, you want to help your entire community become a better and healthier place.
However, there are some challenging barriers to mental health treatment that you need to be aware of so you can successfully learn how to grow your behavioral health business into an effective, thriving treatment center.
In this article, discover the 5 most common barriers your mental health treatment center may face and then learn how to overcome them so you can seamlessly grow as an organization.
Why You Need to Know About Barriers to Mental Health Treatment
Here’s the name of the game: If you want to successfully and smoothly operate your mental health treatment center, then the first step you must take is to understand the unique industry challenges that most mental health and addiction treatment centers face on a day-to-day basis. In general, these difficulties often affect your:
- Persons served
- Organization as a whole
Once you are aware of these challenges, then you can begin breaking down the barriers to create an environment that supports your mental health treatment center and those in need. In the end, you will be able to produce better persons served outcomes and a healthier environment for you and your staff!
Keep reading to learn 5 of the most common barriers to mental health treatment facilities and how to overcome them.
1. Stigma Surrounding Treatment Stunts Growth
One of the main reasons people do not seek help from mental health treatment centers is because of the stigma surrounding addiction and mental health. Unfortunately, many people believe that they will be judged for seeking treatment and are embarrassed to admit that they have a problem in the first place.
With so many stereotypes and prejudices surrounding the industry, people do not want to admit to any issues for fear of discrimination. So, how can you break down this major barrier and encourage more people to seek help?
Stop Stigma in its Tracks
With the stigma surrounding mental health and addiction being so prevalent in today’s society, you can’t expect to see a drastic change right away. But, you can implement steps that will help more people feel comfortable with seeking the help they truly need.
One way to do this is to demystify mental health and substance abuse treatment through education. This can be done by explaining what steps are part of treatment and what the goals are for recovery.
Another way to humanize the process is to share stories and testimonials of those who have gone through recovery. This allows people to connect with others who have or are experiencing the same battles. Ultimately creating a persons served support system and promoting mental health awareness.
Finally, you can use targeted marketing campaigns to shed light on the stigma and provide information. This can help your community better understand the issues and recovery process. Then you can run campaigns and movements that call for social action.
2. Financial Problems Turn People Away
Here’s the hard truth: the price tag of rehabilitation is very high, often costing persons served many thousands of dollars. Therefore, many individuals experiencing addiction or mental health challenges cannot afford to pay for treatment.
While insurance may help cover some of the expenses, there are still many people that do not have access to insurance. In fact, in 2019 28.9 million people in the U.S. did not have insurance.
This may be due to a number of different reasons, such as:
- The high costs of insurance
- Lack of a stable job
- A job that doesn’t provide insurance
- Or simply because they didn’t think they needed it
Even those with insurance can struggle with the costs of treatment because their insurance doesn’t cover medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Or they have specific requirements that make it difficult to be covered. There may also be copayments and deductibles that are not covered by insurance.
Overcome Financial Dilemmas
While you still have to charge persons served in order to afford the equipment and staffing for your treatment center, there are a few ways you can alleviate this barrier.
For starters, you can help those in need by offering specialized payment programs such as monthly, quarterly, or annual payment plans or sliding scale options.
Another way is to offer your community valuable resources that will help them understand insurance options like Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt to read up on some insurance policies yourself. Yes, it can be difficult and time-consuming for treatment centers to figure out insurance billing and its requirements. But, if your organization is able to accept some forms of insurance, it makes treatment so much more accessible.
3. Staff Recruitment Falls Short
Unfortunately, this barrier is a given in the vast majority of growing treatment centers. More times than not, recruiting and retaining passionate staff is difficult.
This is partially due to a lack of funding, which leaves facilities unable to provide competitive compensation packages. Another factor is location. For instance, many rural areas do not have as many facilities. Therefore, they do not attract many mental health and substance abuse psychiatrists and nurse practitioners.
Due to these staffing shortages, treatment centers do not have the capacity to take in more people or deliver quality care.
Even those that are able to find staff may still struggle with providing sufficient training and support. And since the role is often very stressful and demanding, many trained staff struggle with burnout or feel overworked.
Form a Phenomenal Team & Encourage Company Culture
Hiring, training, and supporting your staff are all very important to the quality of care your persons served will receive. For instance, effective training is critical to maintaining the high level of persons served care and efficiency needed to run your organization.
In this industry, it may be difficult to hire quality, top-notch professionals that understand behavioral health. Luckily, there are a number of third-party mental health treatment consultants that have experience in your field and can help you:
- Manage the recruitment process
- Find the right candidates
- Hire the perfect team of professionals
Once you’ve hired staff, you’ll need to train them as you develop a strong company culture within your organization. Treatment centers should also help their staff obtain credentials that comply with state and federal regulations. This will help with retention in the long run while at the same time providing them with the skills they need to properly take care of your beloved persons served.
4. Fragmented Care Leaves Holes in Persons Served Outcome
Many rehab facilities are not able to provide co-occurring services. More often than not, these treatment centers do not have recovery plans set up to address multiple disorders at once. This is true for many different reasons. It can be due to a lack of resources or trained staff who are qualified to help persons served in multiple areas. It can also be because of the low number of practitioners currently entering the treatment field.
For these reasons, those who suffer from multiple substance abuse or mental health disorders may have a hard time getting all of their issues addressed. This, in turn, leads to a decrease in positive client outcomes and a lower success rate for your treatment center.
Find a Cure for Fragmented Care
One way to address this issue is to credentialize and train staff for both mental health and addiction services. Another way to help is to screen for all disorders and make sure you are not ignoring any other underlying issues.
Treatment centers can reach out to those experiencing co-occurring disorders through outreach programs. By way of solid case management and person-focused meetings, these programs will show the type of support they can provide and connect persons served with the real help they need.
Next, a huge change you can make is to make billing simple and easy to understand for persons served that suffer from co-occurring disorders. This will give both your staff, your persons served, and their loved ones peace of mind when it’s time to talk about the costs of treatment.
Now that you know some tricks to overcome fragmented care, what other types of barriers to mental health treatment are there in your industry?
5. Poor Data Management Disrupts Quality of Care
Last but not least, many treatment centers struggle with the management of their data. They may not be able to analyze, utilize or standardize the information they are gathering.
In fact, one of the biggest challenges facilities face is the proper management of their electronic health record (EHR). Behavioral health treatment centers require specialty EHR with data sharing, care monitoring, and persons served portals. Unfortunately, many treatment centers have a hard time picking the right software for their organization. Then they struggle with training their team to use it effectively.
On the other hand, some treatment centers have challenges with the integration of other healthcare facilities, and data gets lost. This leads to a decrease in the quality of care.
While data management is important, it is not helpful unless you can understand it. Some treatment centers face barriers to mental health treatment by leveraging their data to make strategic decisions. Without applying their data to make improvements, they are unable to provide adequate care.
Improve Managerial Standards Before They Become a Problem
If you really want to successfully grow your organization and nip this barrier in the bud before it causes a real managerial problem, then it is absolutely vital that you install the proper data management systems for your treatment center. Here’s how.
First, you’ll need to have a way to get the information you need from your persons served and then quickly provide access to your staff to use efficiently. Furthermore, you must have a way to keep track of your organization’s performance data to help make better business decisions.
As you can see, data management systems can help you run a stronger treatment center and allow you to stay organized at the same time!
- Whole Person Care: Integrating Mental Health to resolve the stigma barrier: Mental Wellness equal to Physical Health
- Access to Care: improving community collaborations for diversified care networks
- Access to Resources: Well-informed consumers influence payor systems and regulatory oversight
- Stress as the first mental wellness consideration: preventive interventions as routine care
- Medical Practice – not Medical Perfection: Values-based and Trauma-Informed Care give integrated solutions.
Break Barriers to Mental Health and Grow Your Treatment Center with C4 Consulting
Ready to break down barriers to mental health treatment and the behavioral health industry? Don’t go into it alone! At C4 Consulting, we have the industry experience you need to help you manage the operations of your center and overcome these challenges.
Not only do we provide consulting services for all aspects of your organization, from strategic planning to marketing and everything in between, but we can also help you manage tedious insurance claims and financing so you can provide the most cost-effective services possible!
To learn more about how C4 Consulting can help you improve overall performance and enhance your treatment programs, contact us to schedule a free consultation.