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University of Phoenix survey reveals 38 percent of individuals who seek mental health counseling experience barriers

The majority of individuals who experience barriers to counseling say those barriers prevent them from receiving these services                                     

PHOENIX, May 29, 2013—A recent University of Phoenix® survey finds that nearly one-third (32 percent) of Americans have sought professional counseling for mental health issues. The survey also reveals that 38 percent of individuals who ever sought or received counseling, experienced barriers that made it either difficult or not possible for them to receive these services. Of those who experienced barriers to counseling, the majority (57 percent) said those barriers prevented them from receiving these services.

The online survey of more than 2,100 U.S. adults was conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of University of Phoenix in March 2013.

Barriers to counseling
Fifty-eight percent of those who experienced barriers to professional counseling said they encountered financial barriers, followed by 36 percent who cited health insurance coverage. Nearly one-third (32 percent) of individuals who experienced barriers said they were not sure counseling would be effective; 28 percent were not sure where to go to seek counseling; 21 percent could not find a counselor with whom they felt comfortable; and 19 percent were reluctant to face their problems. By comparison, 15 percent said social stigma was a barrier to receiving professional counseling.

 “While significant progress has been made to educate the public about the benefits of counseling and remove any associated stigma, much still needs to be done to help individuals overcome barriers that prevent them from receiving professional counseling,” said Leslie Baker, lead faculty member for University of Phoenix College of Social Sciences and licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. “Recent incidents around the country have emphasized the need for professional counseling – both for those suffering from and those affected by mental health issues. Professional counseling provides a safe environment where individuals can work through challenges, set specific goals and gain different perspective.”  

Reasons for seeking counseling
According to the survey, more than a quarter (27 percent) of Americans have received professional counseling. Of those who ever received counseling, 48 percent sought counseling for mood disorder such as depression. Families and relationships were also counseling priorities with 45 percent having sought counseling for marriage and relationship issues, 39 percent for family issues and 20 percent for child behavior issues and parenting help. Other issues for which individuals have sought counseling include:

  • Anxiety: 43 percent
  • Grief: 32 percent
  • Trauma and post-traumatic stress: 30 percent
  • Work-related issues: 22 percent
  • Addiction: 20 percent
  • Personality disorder: 16 percent
  • Behavior modification, such as quitting smoking: 14 percent
  • Eating disorders: 12 percent

“The reasons individuals seek professional counseling are diverse,” said Baker. “Trauma, relationship issues, workplace challenges and even the effects of social media on mental health, are some of the topics being discussed in counseling classes today at University of Phoenix.” Baker offers the following tips to help individuals find counselors who suit their needs:

  1. Determine what type of practitioner you need to see: Professionals providing counseling for mental health concerns include Clinical Mental Health and Licensed Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Psychologists, Clinical Social Workers and Psychiatrists.

  2. Research whether the individual is licensed in the state in which he or she provides therapy: Most states have a website where the status of a licensed professional can be verified.

  3. Obtain a referral: Primary care physicians may provide recommendations and referrals. Additional referral resources may be located online.

  4. Speak directly to the practitioner by phone or in-person to determine whether it is a good fit: Many professionals offer a free, short phone or in-person consultation. Here are a few questions to ask to help you understand the individual’s expertise and approach:

    • What is your scope of practice?
    • How long have you been practicing?
    • What type of training have you completed in this specific treatment area?
    • What is your general approach to treating this concern?
    • How long does treatment usually last?
    • How will you measure progress toward treatment goals?

For more information about University of Phoenix degree programs, visit http://www.phoenix.edu.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of University of Phoenix from March 22-26, 2013, among 2,130 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact tanya.flynn@phoenix.edu.

About University of Phoenix College of Social Sciences
University of Phoenix College of Social Sciences offers programs in human services, psychology and counseling. The college’s curriculum seeks to empower individuals who wish to enhance their skills for career entry or advancement in the helping professions. Curriculum is regularly updated to meet accreditation and/or national and state professional standards. University of Phoenix College of Social Sciences faculty members are experienced professionals, holding advanced degrees. Many sit on state licensure and accreditation boards as well as professional committees. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu/socialsciences.

About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. As a subsidiary of  Apollo Education Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: APOL), University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. For more information, visit www.phoenix.edu

Media Contact:

Tanya Flynn
University of Phoenix
303.570.0617

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