Sunday, January 5, 2014

Finding the Mental Health Professional for You

It seems that more often than not, Tauren Think Tank inspires me to write. In a recent episode, one writer was wondering how to make the step to start looking for a mental health professional. There are a number of ways to do this, and I know a lot of people don't listen to TTT but could still find this information helpful, so I'm going to lay out some of those tips here.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Website has a page that describes the different types of mental health professionals, and it also provides resources to aid in the process of finding a mental health professional that is right for you.

Mental Health America's website has a page where you can enter a zip code and it will give you the nearest locations of Mental Health America Associates which you can speak to. They can give you guidance and help you to find a mental health professional.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is a branch of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Their website provides a treatment locator for both substance abuse treatment, and mental health treatment, in separate searches, so you can find what you're looking for. Furthermore, they also have a 24/7 National Helpline that you can call. Those numbers are 1-800-662-HELP (4357)   and   1-800-487-4889 (TDD)

A lot of times, one of the reasons people give for not seeking out the help they need is that they can't afford it. This is a reasonable concern, however there are ways to work with this. The US Department of Health and Human Services has health centers that provide services to individuals with no insurance, where you pay simply just what you can afford, based on your income. They provide a vast array of services, including: checkups, treatment when you're sick, dental care and prescription drugs for your family, and mental health and substance abuse care. If this is something more suited to what you need, check out their Find a Health Center page on the website. This is a fantastic resource for those with financial struggles.

There are numerous other resources out there to help you. If you are looking for treatment for something specific, and can't find what you're looking for through any of these four sources, a simple google search will likely provide you the information you are looking for.

No matter how you go about finding a mental health professional for whatever you need, there are a few things to consider. No matter how much time and effort you put into finding a mental health professional, there is no guarantee that the person you find will work for you. But don't be discouraged! Everybody is different and each of us has different needs. When speaking with a mental health professional, if you feel as though you aren't getting what you need, tell them. If they can't help you, they should be able to recommend someone else who can. Don't give up just because it doesn't go the right way the first time. I've been in counseling four different times in my 21 years, and the only time I've found a counselor that works is the one I see now. It can be discouraging, and it can be difficult, but if you keep working toward finding the right person for you, you should be able to get the help you need.

Furthermore, no matter what you are going through, try to find somebody else you can talk to aside from your counselor, psychologist, etc. Having other people to talk to, especially those who know you well, will help to give you support between appointments with your mental health professional.

Finally, it is important to keep in mind that no matter what you are going through, the process will not go perfectly. Be prepared for things to go up and down. It could go really well for a span of time, then all of a sudden, you'll be back where you were at the start. I can not stress this enough: do not give up. It will not be a perfect process, but that is how you best learn to deal with whatever you are going through. If it all goes perfectly, you won't be able to fully grasp how to change the way you deal with things. By not giving up, and by staying positive, and by making sure you are getting the type of help you need, in time you can hope to find improvement.

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