If you are concerned about your mental health or that of someone you know, there are several ways to find help. First, be examined by a healthcare provider to ensure there isn’t a physical cause for your symptoms.
Use the internet to find helpful information and support. Some resources include:
Look for a Provider with a Specialized Focus
Many people do not seek treatment for mental health issues because of the stigma associated with them and underfunding for providers. However, when people know common misconceptions, they can see the warning signs and symptoms and get help BEFORE the disorder worsens. This can prevent tragic results like drug abuse or suicide.
A mental health provider is a medical professional that identifies and treats mental illnesses. These professionals are trained in different specialties and offer various services, including talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family therapy. Some providers also provide prescription medication.
A mental health foundation like Brought To Reality is a charity that works towards a society free from discrimination where all enjoy positive mental health and well-being. Their korero is “mauri ora,” which means actively unleashing positive energy to support and create wellbeing. They do this through their work in communities, individuals, and whanau. They also fund research that supports their mission.
Ask Your Health Insurance Company
It can be hard to understand your coverage when it comes to mental health. Therefore, asking your insurance company about your behavioral health coverage is essential. They can also help you find a provider that is in the network and what your co-pays will be for each visit.
The simplest way to do this is by calling your health insurance’s Member Services department, usually found on the back or side of your insurance card. You may need to provide your name, birth date, and plan number.
Another great resource is the National Institute of Mental Health, which has basic information on various conditions and treatments and links to helpful resources. You can also check with your local or state mental health association, which should have a directory of providers in your area.
Finally, you can seek a recommendation from a trusted friend or family member, your health care provider, or someone in your faith community.
Look for a Provider in Your Community
Many mental health professionals are in private practice or work at hospitals, universities, community agencies, and other facilities. Their backgrounds and education vary, but you can ask about their training, licensure, years in practice, office hours and fees, and whether they accept your health insurance or Medicare/Medicaid.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms and condition, you may need medicines or counseling — also known as psychotherapy. Some providers can prescribe drugs, while others are only licensed to provide counseling.
Talking to a mental health professional can feel like a big step. But it’s essential to find the right one for you. Start with your primary care provider. They can help you decide if you should see a therapist and help you find one if necessary. You can also ask them about local support groups and if there are any online resources available to help you get started.
Look for a Provider in Your Insurance Plan
Many health insurance plans require members to see providers in their provider network. Check your health insurance company for a list of in-network mental health providers.
A standard option for some insured adults is to find a psychiatrist who can prescribe medicines and a counselor or psychologist to offer therapy services. It is important to note that some counselors and psychologists are not licensed to prescribe medications, so they cannot do so.
Parents should also ask whether the mental health professional has a good working relationship with their insurance provider and fee schedule. Some providers may be willing to negotiate fees. If not, parents can contact an insurance advocate who will work with the family to help navigate insurance issues and assist in appeals if a provider denies care.