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Mental Health Care

How to choose a mental health care provider

While many of us visit the doctor regularly for our physical needs, our psychological care can be pushed to the side in light of more pressing issues. However, there are many health concerns that are not physical which still require attention, and they fall into the realm of mental healthcare. Choosing your mental healthcare provider requires some time and effort. After all, you could be spending long sessions pouring out your heart to this person. There are a number of things you should consider to develop your care plan for mental health.

Mental Health Care

Personal Relationship

Unlike a medical doctor who spends a limited amount of time with you, you need to feel comfortable with your therapist or mental healthcare provider. Observe the personality and mannerisms of the therapist you are considering – you should feel comfortable talking to them, and feel that they respect and support you in what you have to say. A good way to find someone who will be a good fit is to ask friends and family to refer someone they know. This is also the time to think about any preferences in terms of gender, religion or cultural background. National mental healthcare associations can also provide listings of mental healthcare providers in your area. You can sign up for a single session with the goal of getting to know the therapist and his or her traits before signing on long-term.

Experience, Qualifications and Reputation

In addition to personality, be sure to consider what a potential mental healthcare provider is qualified to do. There are a number of professionals in the mental healthcare field including psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists and nurses. Certain individuals may have specialties in certain areas or only treat specific age groups or mental health concerns. Furthermore, only some types of therapists (such as psychiatrists) are legally permitted to prescribe medications, so if you or your doctor suspect that drug treatment may be necessary, you should choose accordingly.

Also take into account the experience and reputation of whoever will be managing your care plan for mental health. It's an important part of your overall health, so try to choose someone who has adequate experience in the type of treatment you need. Ask your potential therapist how long they have been practicing, or whether they have led any research in the field. Often, those individuals who have a sincere interest mental health will have done research in it as well.


In addition to the personal and professional fit you are looking for, make sure your mental healthcare provider also fits your lifestyle and your budget. First, keep in mind that your insurance may only apply to certain types of therapy from certain groups of specialists. If you do not have any coverage but are going ahead with treatment anyway, keep the costs in mind. Second, find out how flexible you need your therapist to be. If you work 9 to 5 and your ideal therapist only works afternoons, you may need to reconsider your choice. Finally, decide if you would be interested in individual, group or family therapy. If so, find out which mental healthcare providers offer this sort of therapy and what the benefits are to you.

Finding the right care provider to meet your needs in the personal, professional and logistical realms is important. By evaluating each possible care provider in these three areas, you will help to ensure that you find someone who will guide you well along the path to good mental health.

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