Q: I think I need a therapist. Where do I start?
A: We will walk you through it.
Before we do, we want to acknowledge your bravery. Many of us are going through this and we thank you for asking openly and honestly about how to find help. In fact, approximately 40% of Americans report struggling with mental health or substance use since the summer. Younger adults are particularly vulnerable.
1. You may need help if you notice any of the following (although this list is not exhaustive):
Sleep disturbance (too much or too little), appetite change (higher or lower or weight changes), anxiety symptoms (worry, fear, avoidance), depressive symptoms (low mood, irritability, anger, low motivation, thoughts of harming yourself), withdrawal from peers and activities, difficulty concentrating, fatigue/low energy, and physical symptoms (aches and pains, headaches)
…these issues make it difficult for you to get through and function in your daily life.
2. Once you have determined that you would like to seek help, you can either search the internet for a provider on www.psychologytoday.com or the psychologist locator. You may also call the back of your insurance card/check the website to see who is in network for your care. The amount covered and the provider locations/facilities covered may differ between your physical and mental health coverage, so be sure to check. From there, you can determine what the out of pocket costs may be for a therapist’s weekly sessions. Even if the cost seems high, remember that your therapist may offer sliding scales and/or you may be able to get some out of network reimbursement from your insurance company (where the insurance company pays a portion of your cost). If you do not have insurance, you may link to care through the nearest federally qualified health center. Note: many therapists are offering services virtually, so make sure to ask. The benefit of this is that you may be able to see a provider offering the type of therapy beneficial to you but located farther away than you would normally be able to travel. Tele-therapy can provide challenging however for establishing connection, working through visual and hearing challenges, and of course, technological difficulties.
3. You may also seek medication management for acute symptoms such as panic attacks. A first step would be to consult with a primary care provider. If you do not have one, you may seek one through your insurance network. If you don’t have insurance, you can connect to the nearest federally qualified health center.
4. If you are in a crisis, there are a number of resources. You may first start by visiting the nearest emergency room or crisis center. There you will be evaluated and connected to care if needed, such as an intensive outpatient program or partial hospitalization program (where you could receive group and individual therapy as well as medication management in a daily format-although most programs are now online). If you are in acute danger of harm to yourself or others, it may be recommended that you are admitted to the hospital for inpatient psychiatric care. This can be done voluntarily (you sign the paperwork for admission) or involuntarily (the provider and/or a person in your life who has witnessed concerning behaviors sign the paperwork to have you admitted). If you aren’t sure where to start, you may also seek additional help in determining what may be best for you by calling any of the numbers listed on the flyer.
5. After you receive immediate care, it is important to remember that treatment is an ongoing process. You may have ups and downs, but staying engaged in treatment helps you to develop the coping skills and resources that will help you in the long run. Most people will start to improve after a month or two, but likely will stay in treatment for at least one year.
We will continue to provide the support to help you manage your news, scientific information, and wellness during this pandemic. And we will support you to take good care of yourselves as best we can. As you begin this process of seeking help, know that you are not alone and that many people do get better with support and treatment.
Stay Safe. Stay Sane.
Those Nerdy Girls