Getting Mental Health Treatment

Most forms of mental health issues can be treated effectively. Early diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions and issues are the fastest and most effective ways to alleviate their symptoms and restore normal functioning.

The two primary forms of mental health treatment are medications and therapy. There are many forms of therapy. Most types of therapy are classified as “talking therapy” in which a mental health professional and client converse about a client’s problems and experiences to get at their root causes. Once the problems are identified, the therapist will encourage new, healthier patterns of thought. Some mental health issues have a physical basis as well. When physical conditions impact a person’s mental health, treatment with medication may be required.

If you or someone you loved needs mental health treatment, then it is not hard to get, despite how intimidating or overwhelming it may at first feel. However, before you or anyone else decides to schedule an appointment with a mental health professional, do your due diligence to make sure it is the right type of mental health professional needed and a qualified, credentialed therapist.

How to Find Mental Health Help for Yourself

One place to find mental health for yourself is through your doctor’s office. Your primary care physician may be able to recommend a qualified mental health professional he or she knows and trusts to help you with your specific circumstances. If not, then your doctor can still help put you on the right path. If you are unsure if you need mental health in the first place, then your doctor can also give you a basic mental exam to judge whether your issues require a therapist to solve.

After speaking with your doctor, you can also search for referrals for qualified mental health professionals through medical organizations like the American Psychological Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the National Institute of Mental Health. If you are dealing with certain specialized mental health issues, then there may be additional organizations from which you can seek resources, such as Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration if dealing with substance abuse issues or American Foundation for Suicide Prevention if dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts and desires.

How to Find Mental Health Help for a Friend/Family Member

While you can use the same resources to find mental health help for a friend or family member as you would to find help for yourself, finding the right mental health professional for your friend or family member’s specific needs can be more difficult. Moreover, just because you find mental health help for someone you care about, it does not mean the individual will take advantage of the services you find for him or her. One way to help facilitate a more receptive reaction to your efforts at helping is to do the following:

  • Let your friend or family member know how much you care about him or her
  • Do not judge your friend or family member or make him or her feel like he or she is doing something wrong by needing help
  • Remind your friend or family member you are there for him or her, whenever he or she needs help

It can also be useful to find out what health insurance your friend or family member has so you can help him or her find mental health services covered by his or her insurance provider.

Most importantly, if you feel threatened or endangered by your friend or family member’s mental health issues, then you should either contact the police for help or seek out the aid of a social worker. Similarly, if you are concerned you friend or loved one may try to harm him or herself, then it is your responsibility to notify a law enforcement professional.

Mental Health Advice for Parents

As a parent, one of the biggest ways you can help your child face mental health issues is to keep him or her safe. This involves knowing where your child is at all times, who your child is spending his or her time with and what apps and messages are on your child’s phone. Monitoring your child’s interactions and behavior online and off is a powerful way you can help mental health issues from getting worse or causing problems in your child’s life.

When it comes time to talk with your child about seeking help, make sure your child sees you taking your own advice. If you have a medical issue needing attention, then do not let your child see you avoiding it. You should lead by example, showing your child how empowering it is to seek out professional help for a personal problem you cannot manage on your own. Let your child see there is no weakness or shame in asking for help.

When you do speak with mental health professionals for your child, make sure the professionals are trained and experienced in working with children your child’s age. Also, make sure your child feels comfortable with the person you have chosen. You should include your child in the process of making the selection in the first place. Be certain your child knows he or she can change mental health professionals if he or she ever feels uncomfortable with the current therapist.

Health Insurance for Mental Health Treatment

Starting in 2014, most health insurance plans both for groups and individuals, including Medicaid Alternative Benefit Plans, are required by law to cover substance use and mental health disorder services. The federal Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) also covers a full suite of mental health services. With Medicare, Part A covers mental health services in a hospital, Part B covers outpatient mental health services and Part D covers mental health medications.

If you have been denied health care coverage for mental health treatment, reached the limit on your plan or have an excessively large deductible or copay, then you can find assistance through many state and federal agencies. The Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Coverage Parity laws may protect you from being denied coverage. Moreover, the laws also prevent coverage for mental health and substance abuse treatment services from being more restrictive than other forms of coverage.

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