It’s okay if your situation feels too overwhelming to handle on your own. Learn how to ask for help and get connected to local treatment options that work for your budget and schedule.
If you are ready to get connected to treatment but aren’t sure how, start with these guiding questions:
What kind of treatment do I need?
Different mental health professionals offer different treatments, with different benefits. If you are looking for medication, you’ll need to see a psychiatrist. If you are wanting to talk to someone about your condition, look for counseling or therapy. If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for yet, discussing your symptoms in a physical exam at a community health clinic or with your primary doctor can point you in the right direction.
Do I have health insurance?
If you don’t have health insurance, there are many mental health providers who work with a sliding scale payment model, which means you will pay a rate adjusted for your income level. Many healthcare providers also have payment plan options, and there are resources in our community you can access for free. You can discuss payment with your mental health care provider to determine the best options for your needs and your budget.
If you have health insurance, review your policy to determine what kind of care is covered and how much you will be expected to contribute for mental health care. Insurance providers may also require a referral from your doctor to see a mental health specialist, like a therapist or psychiatrist. If a referral is not required, call your insurance information number and request contact information for mental health professionals in your area that accept your insurance plan.
Do I need a referral?
For some mental health treatment, you may need to be referred by your primary doctor. Whether or not you need a referral is dependent on your health insurance plan and provider. Always check your insurance policy before reaching out to a specialist on your own, as your insurance may not cover the care without a referral.
If you are needing medication, talking with your primary care doctor about your options can point you in the right direction. They can help connect you with a psychiatrist or in some cases they can write you a prescription.
What do I say to my doctor?
You know your body best. If you have noticed symptoms of a mental health condition in your life, it is important to be honest about how you feel with your doctor. Writing down your symptoms and preparing questions ahead of your appointment can guide you through the conversation. You can say things like:
- “I’ve been having a hard time sleeping and my mood seems to be consistently low. Can we talk about next steps for my mental health?”
- “A medication I am taking is making me very anxious, can we discuss ways to relieve this symptom?”
- “I think I could benefit from therapy or counseling, can you help me get connected?”
If you feel reluctant to make a call or to reach out to your doctor, ask a trusted friend or family member to sit with you while you call or attend your appointment with you. They can also make the call for you.