Finding A Mental-Health Provider
For a variety of reasons, it is not always easy to get the treatment you need. It may be hard to find a mental-health provider (a psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, counselor, etc.) with the right skills. Finding the right match is also tough. You need to feel comfortable with this person. Another difficulty is finding someone who can see you. You may need to make a lot of phone calls before you find someone who has a schedule opening. Even then, you may have to wait for an appointment.
If you feel uncomfortable with the first person you see, trust your impressions. If you meet several people and come away disappointed each time, it may be worth picking the best of candidate and giving the relationship some time to develop.
How do you find someone who can help?
- Your doctor can provide basic information. He or she can begin treatment and refer you to a specialist.
- Many schools, colleges and universities have health services or counseling services that can provide care.
- Your company may have an employee-assistance program you can use.
- Local hospitals, particularly those connected with a university or medical school, provide many services. They often have departments of psychiatry, psychology, nursing and social work, each with its own specialists.
- Your insurance company may be able to suggest someone.
- Religious institutions often provide pastoral counseling and may know about treatment resources in your community.
- The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance has support groups in every state.
- Professional organizations — for example the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association — often have referral services. Their Web sites also have information for consumers.
- The American Association of Suicidology has a National Hopeline Network. You can contact them by calling 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433). Their Web site lists crisis centers and support groups.
- Because depression is so common, a trusted friend may know about resources in your community.