December 7, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

The National Social Anxiety Center (NSAC) provides information about relevant and current research in service of disseminating and promoting evidence-based treatment for social anxiety. This month’s update focuses on barriers to mental health treatment among individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder.

Treatment utilization rates for individuals with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) fall below those with panic disorder or any mood disorder.

This recent study (Goetter et al., 2020) examined barriers to engaging in treatment in individuals with GAD and SAD. Shame/stigma, logistical and financial barriers, and not knowing where to seek treatment were among the most common reported barriers.

Participants from racial and ethnic minority groups reported experiencing greater barriers to treatment, independent of symptom severity.

These findings speak to an unmet need to increase awareness, education, and accessibility of our effective and evidence-based treatments to those experiencing the greatest barriers.

Colleagues, what adaptations and strategies have you found helpful to reduce the above barriers to treatment, in particular with individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups in your community?

Goetter, E. M., Frumkin, M. R., Palitz, S. A., Swee, M. B., Baker, A. W., Bui, E., & Simon, N. M. Barriers to mental health treatment among individuals with social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Psychological Services, February 2020, volume 17, issue 1, pages 5-12.

Robert Yeilding, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist

Representative of NSAC Newport Beach / Orange County
(Anxiety and Depression Center)