Where to Get Mental Health Help
When it comes to getting help for mental illness, there are several options. It all depends on what type of treatment you need and your personal preferences.
Often, the first step is to talk with your primary care doctor about your concerns. The doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist.
1. Your Family Doctor
In many places, family doctors are the first place people turn when they have a mental health concern. They are trained to understand your physical and emotional needs, and they can often refer you to a specialist or mental health provider that is better suited to your situation.
In addition, if you’re a young adult and struggling with anxiety or depression, your family doctor is likely to be able to screen you for these conditions at your annual well visit. Using a standardized screening tool, a medical assistant can help your doctor assess your mood and other factors that affect your health.
But not all primary care physicians have the time or resources to treat mental health issues. They may not have the training or expertise, or they might find the process too long and difficult.
One of the best ways to find help for a mental health condition is to seek out a psychiatrist. These doctors have special training to diagnose and treat psychiatric conditions, such as depression, anxiety, psychosis, addiction and other illnesses.
They are also qualified to prescribe medication, so they can provide a more comprehensive treatment. They can also refer you to psychologists or counsellors if necessary.
After a thorough interview, your psychiatrist will ask you about symptoms and their impact on your life. They’ll also ask about your family and medical history.
Your doctor will also give you a physical exam and may order blood and other tests, including a psychological evaluation (MSE). They’ll use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to determine what type of problem you have.
After the assessment is complete, your psychiatrist will recommend a treatment plan that’s right for you. This could involve medications, counseling, or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Counseling involves a process whereby you can share your problems with a trained professional who will listen to you, assess your situation and give you tools to help solve the problem.
Mental health counselors offer help with a variety of issues, including relationship problems, anxiety, depression and addictions. They can also teach you skills to help with stress management and self-esteem.
If you feel you have a mental health issue that needs attention, talk to your primary care doctor or a psychiatrist about getting help. They can examine you to make sure there is no physical condition that could be causing your symptoms and will refer you to a therapist.
Psychotherapy, or more simply called “talk therapy,” is a common form of treatment for a wide range of mental disorders and can help patients identify their feelings, thoughts and behaviors so they can better understand how to manage them. It often includes a variety of treatment approaches depending on the person’s specific disorder and the mental health professional’s training and experience.
4. Community Mental Health Clinics
Community mental health clinics offer a range of services for patients of all ages, including those who do not have insurance. They have specialized services for children, the elderly, patients with serious mental illnesses and people who have been discharged from an inpatient psychiatric hospital or drug treatment program.
These centers are free or offer sliding-scale fees. They are staffed by professionals, including psychiatrists, counselors, social workers, nurses and activity coordinators.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says that community mental health clinics serve low-income and disabled adults, people with disabilities, children and adolescents, seniors and individuals who have recently been discharged from an inpatient psychiatric facility or drug treatment program. They also help people who are struggling with addiction.
A growing number of communities are experimenting with new community mental health services that go beyond treating symptoms to include the full range of needs for patients and their families. These services are designed to reject coercive practices, support patients to make their own decisions about care and promote participation and community inclusion by addressing all areas of life that are important to them.