How to Choose the Right Psychiatric Provider for Your Mental Health
Your anxiety may feel suffocating. Your depression may have you spiraling. ADHD may render you unproductive or feeling frazzled. It’s time to reach out for help, but where do you begin? Finding a psychiatric mental health provider for the first time, or even transferring your care due ongoing circumstances, can be a daunting task and an overwhelming transition in your life. How do you take the steps to ensure you are receiving the best support possible? Making that first move is often the hardest one. Yet, remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health: in order for you to feel well and function at the fullest measure, pursuing mental health care for any ongoing symptoms is crucial. Hold to the fact that it is something to be proud of yourself for - reaching out for help is not always easy, but it is worth it in order to take care of yourself and pursue mental wellness.
Before you begin your search, it is helpful to know what kind of treatment you want to pursue. People have different needs according to their circumstances and struggles. For some individuals, working through their mental health through counseling may be the best option. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) are all forms of counseling that can help an individual process trauma, deal with ongoing conflict, and/or continue with wellness check-ins. Counseling can assist through life changes, emotional difficulties, and more through assessing your mental health needs and providing you with strategies to overcome personal challenges. Whether you end up seeking individual counseling, family counseling, or even couples counseling, therapy can be a helpful resource to help you cope and process your circumstances.
Medication management is another way to treat your mental health symptoms: ADHD, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective, PTSD, addiction, insomnia, and/or OCD can feel overwhelming when unmanaged.Thankfully, psychiatric medication can help mitigate what you are experiencing with these and other diagnoses. When you attend appointments for medication management, providers can assess how best to help you with an initial evaluation and routine follow-up times that take in where you are and help alleviate your current concerns regarding your mental health. Medications can work with your body in amazing ways that bring relief and hope. Though it can, at times, feel intimidating to take medications, remember that these prescriptions and supplements are for your benefit. Your psychiatric provider has the best in mind for you combined with the education to prescribe you medications that can improve your symptoms. The goal is to improve your mental health, and proper medication management can help you achieve this.
Oftentimes, a combination of both counseling and medication management is the best approach to pursuing mental wellness. This does not reflect negatively on you; sometimes, the given situation just requires a more holistic approach in order to give you the most relief possible. While some psychiatric prescribers, such as psychiatrists or psychiatric nurse practitioners, incorporate psychotherapy into their sessions, many people pursue therapy in addition in order to receive the maximum care. This conjunction of treatment can help you cope with struggles as well as manage your symptoms through medication, giving you full and comprehensive care. Furthermore, your therapist and prescriber can coordinate your care and work together to create the best possible treatment plan that addresses your specific desires and needs. If seeking both forms of mental health treatment feels overwhelming, just remember that your providers are here to help you and meet you where you are.
In addition to narrowing down the right type of provider, many people struggle with finding a specific therapist or psychiatric prescriber that best suits their needs and fits with their lifestyle. If these choices seem intimidating to you, we have provided some helpful tips to assist you in this decision.
1) Think about Your Own Situation
Often, psychiatric providers and counselors specialize in certain areas, and assessing your personal mental health can help you narrow down the facility that will provide the best help. Additionally, it can be beneficial to examine your status before pursuing a provider so that you can fully present your situation to the office you are hoping to reach. You want to ensure that you are evaluating yourself honestly in order to be transparent and up front with the provider so that you can receive full support. This assists your future practitioner in understanding your background, experiences, and goals for treatment. Be sure to keep reasonable expectations for your treatment. The first office you come into contact with may not be the best fit for you and may refer you elsewhere; similarly, the practitioner you do see may have different suggestions or an alternate treatment plan than you came into the appointment with. It is important that you are willing to be open to what the provider has to say and follow the plan they establish for you.
2) Research Providers in Your Area
A quick Google search can give you a useful understanding of the providers in your area. By typing in something like “psychiatric care in (zip code)” or “counselor/therapist near me”, you can peruse local offices that can give you strategies for help. Another great resource for this aspect is www.psychologytoday.com. This website allows you to narrow down through insurance, specialty, and more. Get to know the providers in your area with the written biographies, the website links, and more.
3) Pick Your Provider
This step may be the most intimidating, but it is necessary to continue on in your mental wellness journey. Look at providers that seem like a good fit for you by checking out their websites, finding personal profiles, and looking at the philosophies and licensing of the office. Once you have narrowed it down to a couple providers, verify with your insurance who is in-network with your plan. If they are not in-network, but you deem it worth your time to pursue the practice, consider asking about self-pay rates. If the office turns out to not be the best fit, it is okay to part ways and check out more – there are often several options.
Narrowing it down between providers can also involve asking family and friends for recommendations, looking at online reviews for each practitioner, and glancing over different provider’s websites. Your questions and research can go a long way to finding you the most suitable care possible. Be your own advocate by asking as many questions as you have and speaking up for your needs. This will not only help the provider but also assist in your treatment. You may feel hesitant at times, but in the long run, it is worth it to receive the care you deserve. Value your opinions and your instincts while pursuing your treatment.
4) Setting up an Appointment
Some psychiatric offices require referrals in order to schedule an appointment. This can be either through your Primary Care Provider, a previous mental health provider, or through a self-referral form found on the office’s website. Do not let these referrals intimidate you; it is simply to ensure that the particular office is the best fit for you! Many providers use these referrals to evaluate that their office can give you the highest level of care possible. Once you have completed the referral process, or if the office does not require one, you can begin to work with the office to set up your appointment. Often, the office will give you a call; in the case that they ask you as the client to reach out, take this step as soon as possible.
While you wait on your appointment, it is important to stay encouraged. Remember that you have made incredible progress by setting up the appointment – you are reaching out for the help that you need, and that is a notable step in and of itself. If you begin to feel nervous or apprehensive about your appointment, you can always look at the website or provider again to reassure you that you have made the right choice. If you feel the need to change providers or confirm your choice, do not hesitate to do this. It is all about the right care for you and your condition. Just call the office back within a reasonable time frame – generally about 48 hours or more – and explain the situation. Sometimes, the staff can talk you through why the provider is going to be a great fit for you personally or reschedule you for a time when you feel more at ease.
6) Moving Forward
In summation, your treatment plan is important, and finding the right provider is a key element that can make all the difference. Throughout the entire process, the most important thing is to keep going. Your mental health and wellness is a vital part of your well-being, and taking the steps to find a psychiatric provider is a mark that you are caring for yourself. Be proud of yourself and recognize your progress. Mental health is not like other ailments where you can simply take antibiotics for a week and then cease treatment. Mental health often requires ongoing care with a plan that is holistic, sometimes even involving care in both therapy and psychiatric treatment as discussed above. If you find yourself needing help, reach out to family, friends, and professional psychiatric offices and organizations in the area to become connected with providers near you.
The iTrust Wellness Group is a clinic that specializes in mental health services, particularly psychiatric medication management. We strive to provide comprehensive care for mental health symptoms and diagnoses, creating regimens with your specific situation in mind. Our providers are highly trained and skilled in both identifying and treating different diagnoses such as listed above - ADHD, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective, PTSD, addiction, insomnia, and/or OCD. If you are experiencing mental health symptoms or diagnoses, feel free to see if our office may be a good fit for your experience. Whether or not we become your psychiatric providers, we are here to assist you in your journey to mental wellness. Please contact our office to find out more information if you have questions about any part of our process or philosophies.