Did you know that 1 in 5 adults in the United States struggles with their mental health? This is a staggering number, and sadly, many of these individuals do not receive the proper care that could help them exponentially when it comes to navigating life with a mental illness. Mental illnesses do not discriminate; they affect across demographics and locations globally.
In the past, it was a lot more difficult to openly discuss mental health topics and the option of therapy, as these things were taboo and reserved for “crazy” people. Now we know that this could not be further from the truth, as mental health services are absolutely for everyone, and there really is no one that can’t benefit in one way or another from attending therapy.
It can be overwhelming and daunting to figure out when to seek out mental health help, where to go, and what to look for in a professional. We’re here to lay it all out for you and guide you in the process of finding quality mental health help.
When to Seek Out Mental Health Help
Perhaps you have been feeling for a while that you may receive a lot of value from attending therapy, but you’re not entirely sure about how to go about this process or if the timing is right. Whenever you feel ready is always the right time because, at the end of the day, everyone can benefit from attending therapy. If you have been noticing changes like: feeling overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, out of control, or changes in eating patterns, it is definitely time to reach out to a professional. You can then begin the process of finding a diagnosis (if there is one) and your treatment journey.
What to Look For
When you have officially decided to reach out and work with a mental health professional, it can be difficult to know how to find a therapist and which might be the right fit.
You should begin your search by focusing on your symptoms and life milestones. For example, if you’re a recent graduate who is having trouble getting motivated or focusing, you’ll want to look for a therapist who works with young adults. If you’re a new mother struggling to bond with her baby, you want to look for a therapist with experience with post-partum behavior.
Not every therapist will mesh perfectly with every client, so it’s normal for there to be some level of trial and error when finding your perfect fit. Rest assured; professionals can refer you to someone else if they feel your needs warrant a different provider’s care.
There are sites and resources that can help you narrow down the best help in your area, but these are a few parameters that you should look out for when choosing from a pool of mental health specialists.
It is crucial that you confirm that your future therapist has board certifications to their name. Having these credentials means that these professionals have been thoroughly vetted and are able to accurately diagnose mental health-related issues. Common certifications for therapists include:
- Mental Health Nurse Practitioner
- PMHNP— Psychiatric
- LCSW — Licensed Clinical Social Worker
- LMFT — Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
- NCC — National Certified Counselor
- LCDC — Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor
- LPC — Licensed Professional Counselor
- LMHC — Licensed Mental Health Counselor
- PsyD — Doctor of Psychology
You’ll want to ensure that your therapist is active and in good standing. This requires them to complete continuing education each year and certification renewals as their state requires.
You definitely want to go with a practice that is able to accept your insurance. The coverage that insurance is able to provide clients will help immensely with the cost of appointments and give you the ability to commit to a regular schedule.
If you’re someone who wants to be able to chat through issues as they arise, or someone who wants a certain provider no matter where you live, telehealth can be a great option for you. Telehealth has shown to be as effective as in-person therapy. All you need is a stable internet connection, and you can reap the rewards of therapy in your own home.
You will also want to examine your potential therapist’s clinical experience. Years of schooling and training must occur in order to obtain clinical experience, so you can trust these individuals to be helpful, well-informed, and familiar with various mental illnesses.
Looking for these qualities in your mental health professional will make the process much easier, trouble-free, and less stressful. You will have much more luck in your search, and you’re less likely to have several consultations that don’t end up working out.
When you finally decide to begin the journey of obtaining mental health help, there’s no doubt that you’ll feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. No one should have to navigate life without feeling supported or in a good place mentally. Discovering the perfect match for your individual needs is all it takes to integrate the tools that are able to help so many.
Help is available. If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, contact us at Shorelines to schedule a consultation with our team of medical professionals and access to mental health care from the privacy and comfort of your home.