SPONSORED CONTENT -- (StatePoint) Searching for a mental health provider? You likely have questions.
Recent research from virtual care provider MDLIVE suggests that confusion around finding a mental healthcare provider is common. One in five surveyed said they were concerned about finding a provider match and 70% experience confusion and uncertainty about where to begin. The research also revealed that not everyone knows the difference between the various mental health professionals -- psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, mental health coaches and others.
“Many people are ready to get depression, anxiety and stress under control by working with a mental health professional, but get bogged down right from the start. Confusion about selecting a professional that best suits their needs causes a lot of people to give up. That’s something we want to change,” says Dr. Shakira Espada-Campos, who brings more than two decades of direct practice experience to her role as behavioral health medical director at MDLIVE.
To help you in your search, MDLIVE is answering some frequently asked questions:
When is it time to see a therapist? Mental healthcare is self-care that most everyone can benefit from. However, if your emotional state is interfering with your daily life, it’s definitely time to take action. Beyond the common signs of mental illness, such as sadness, drug and alcohol misuse, trouble sleeping and mood swings, Dr. Espada-Campos notes that there are some often overlooked signals that could indicate it’s time to seek treatment. These include withdrawing from loved ones, feeling fatigued, having a lack of motivation and frequently “zoning out.” She also notes that life events such as decoupling, job loss or the loss of a loved one can often trigger the need for professional mental health support.
What’s the difference between therapists and psychiatrists? Psychiatrists and therapists can treat the same things, however, psychiatrists are medical doctors who can diagnose psychiatric conditions and prescribe medication, while therapists are licensed providers who can evaluate and support people with emotional or behavioral health concerns through talk therapy.
What should one look for in a provider? Mental healthcare is highly personal and it’s essential that your provider is someone you can open up to, make progress with and not feel judged by.
A good place to start is by working with a provider who has experience treating patients like you.
Understand that you may not find the right therapist on your first try. Dr. Espada-Campos encourages individuals to both trust their feelings in this regard and to take an active role in their sessions by asking questions like, “What can I do to help my treatment?” and “How can we work together to achieve my goals?”
Does insurance cover therapy? In recent years, many health plans and employers have acknowledged the importance of mental healthcare and have expanded the resources available to their members and employees. Check coverage details online or through the plan’s call center. Alternatively, you may wish to seek counseling through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAP counselors can help with a variety of mental health concerns, however, members are typically restricted to a set number of sessions. If you’re suffering from a recurring mental health issue, check what options are available through your health plan.
Can therapists be seen remotely? Virtual care, an increasingly popular option, can provide private, convenient, quality care quickly, and is often offered by health plans. For example, MDLIVE’s platform makes it easy to search for a provider that meets your needs and to schedule an appointment with one of their psychiatrists or licensed therapists. MDLIVE is a covered benefit for more than 60 million Americans through health insurers such as Cigna, Aetna, certain Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, and many regional and local plans. To learn more or to register, visit www.mdlive.com.
Finding a mental healthcare provider can feel overwhelming. However, identifying what you want out of care and understanding the different treatments available can help demystify the process.
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