Tips to Find the Right Mental Health Provider
Mental health providers diagnose and provide treatment for mental health conditions. These professionals have a master’s or doctorate degree, extensive training, and the required licensing.
Some mental health providers specialize in areas such as depression, substance misuse, or family therapy. They may work in facilities such as private practices, hospitals, or community agencies.
Use the following information to determine which mental health provider may be right for you.
A psychiatrist has a doctorate degree and specializes in mental health. They may treat children and adolescents, geriatrics, or people with addictions. A psychiatrist can provide psychotherapy and prescribe medication.
A psychologist has a doctorate degree and specializes in thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. They can provide individual or group psychological counseling. A psychologist who is not licensed to prescribe medication may work with a provider who is.
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse
A psychiatric mental health nurse has a master’s or doctorate degree. Depending on their education, training, and experience, they may be able to assess, diagnose, and treat mental illnesses. If state law allows, a psychiatric mental health advanced practice nurse can prescribe medication.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
A licensed clinical social worker has a master’s or doctorate degree. Depending on their licensing and training, they may be able to provide services such as assessment, diagnosis, and counseling. A licensed clinical social worker might work with a provider who can prescribe medication.
Licensed Professional Counselor
A licensed professional counselor has a master’s degree and provides diagnoses and counseling. They may work with a provider who can prescribe medication.
Factors to Consider When Finding a Mental Health Provider
Consider the following details to find the right mental health provider:
- Your issue or condition. You may want a mental health provider which a specialized focus. For instance, if you have marital problems, you may want to talk with a licensed marriage and family therapist. The severity of your symptoms and the complexity of your diagnosis affect the level of training and expertise you should look for.
- Your need for medications and/or counseling. Your issue and the severity of your symptoms impact whether you need medications. Therefore, you might need to see more than one mental health provider. For instance, you might see a psychologist for counseling and a psychiatrist to manage your medications.
- Your health insurance coverage. Your insurance policy might cover specific mental health providers or types of providers. Find out which types of mental health services are covered and what your benefit limits are.
Methods to Find a Mental Health Provider
You have multiple options to find the right mental health provider:
- Talk with your insurance company for a list of covered providers.
- Ask your primary care provider, family, friends, or clergy for a referral or recommendation.
- Find out whether your company has an employee assistance program (EAP) that offers mental health services or can provide a referral.
- Contact a local or national mental health organization such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).