A mental health counselor is an invaluable commodity because your mental health is just as important as your physical health.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, mental health problems like anxiety and depression are on the rise.
People are finding it difficult to get access to reliable mental health professionals, with all the social distancing rules and lockdown requirements in effect.
COVID-19 and mental health share a strong link.
There are many mental health and psychological considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak that you need to assess.
Finding the right psychologist or mental health counselor can help you evaluate these considerations and make the right moves to ensure your mental health and safety.
If you’ve never seen a mental health counselor before, finding one that’s suited to your specific needs might be an uphill task.
Here are some expert suggestions to help you in this regard:
- Know The Difference Between Types of Mental Health Counselors
Before looking for a mental health counselor, you should consider its many types. For starters, you should look into the difference between a psychologist, a social worker, and a simple family practice doctor.
Most mental health counselors have doctoral-level or masters-level training. Master’s degree holders have different designations, such as Master of Social Work (MSW) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).
Professionals with doctoral-level training, on the other hand, are medical doctors and psychologists having specialized expertise in mental health. You also have family medicine doctors who are less knowledgeable and skilled but legally permitted to prescribe medications for mental health conditions.
Learning the key points of difference between mental health providers is vital to find one tailored to your specific needs.
- Consider A Specialist
Mental health counselors can provide treatment for a range of mental health conditions, but it’s better to find one who specializes in your area of concern.
For example, if you have PTSD, look for a counselor who has expertise in that area. Similarly, if you’re having relationship problems, a relationship therapist is your best bet.
Sometimes, you can also consider a combination of mental health counselors to deal with a complex set of mental health conditions.
- Factor In Medications In Your Final Choice
Not all mental health counselors are greenlit to prescribe medications. Your family doctor has the authority to diagnose and prescribe medications.
However, in some severe cases, you might have to consult a psychiatrist – a mental health professional with a skillset tailored to diagnose mental health conditions and suggest mental health medications.
Take note that other types of mental health counselors are generally not allowed to prescribe medications.
As a rule of thumb, the more severe your condition and complicated your symptoms, the more experienced and specialized your mental health counselor needs to be. In most cases, a family doctor suffices.
But, in some serious mental health conditions, like schizophrenia and clinical depression, you might have to turn to a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or a combination of the two for extended assistance.
- Find The Status of Your Health Insurance Coverage
Insurance companies provide different coverages for different mental health counselors.
Make sure you have extended knowledge of what your insurance policy covers.
Your insurance policy may provide coverage for only a limited set of mental health counselors.
Medicaid can help you in this regard. Other than telling you the types of mental health counselors it covers, it can also inform you of your benefit limits.
Some insurance plans, for instance, allow more sessions with a psychologist, social worker, or nurse, than to a psychiatrist who typically charges high fees.
- Research The Characteristics of Mental Health Counselors
Your research doesn’t stop once you’ve selected a list of potential mental health counselors.
Before jumping to your first appointment, you need to consider several demographics to make sure you’re comfortable with interacting with your mental health counselor.
Some of these include:
Don’t hesitate to discard mental health professionals based on these pointers.
Remember, your comfort level plays a pivotal role in establishing a long-term relationship. Sometimes, even the accent and appearance are a deal-breaker.
Although you might not know how a mental health counselor looks before your appointment, you can always find their bios, pictures, and other credentials on the websites of their associating organizations and clinics.
Finding the right mental health counselor can be challenging. It may require extensive research, assessing the types of different mental health counselors, the status of your mental health coverage, and some trial and error on your part.
But, you have to take up this challenge to make sure you get the best treatment possible and develop a healthy long-term relationship with your counselor of choice.