Things To Look For In Psychiatry Near You

Updated November 2, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other common mental health conditions, you may be wondering how to find a psychiatrist in your area. Finding the services you need can be easy or somewhat more difficult depending on several factors. Below we offer a few suggestions to aid you as you go through this process.

When you’re looking for psychiatry services, the most important thing to remember is that a medical professional is available to help you. Many people have gone through this process of finding psychiatric help. It might feel daunting, but you can find the services you need.

Getting Referrals

Find A Psychiatrist Who Can Meet Your Needs

First, you might start by seeking referrals. While it’s true that you could do a basic Google search for “psychiatry near me,” you may be better off getting referrals from your friends or family. They may be able to attest to the effectiveness and approach of a psychiatrist in your area.

Also, some insurance companies require you to get a referral from your primary care doctor for these services to be covered. You might check with your insurance company to see if this is required by your plan. Even if it’s not required, you may feel more comfortable getting a referral from your doctor so that they can recommend someone who is qualified.

The Psychiatry Shortage

You may discover that you have difficulty finding psychiatry services in your area. There is a shortage of psychiatry services across the country, particularly in rural areas.

In this case, you may want to consider telepsychiatry. Studies have shown that telepsychiatry is quite effective and is a good alternative for people who do not have psychiatry services nearby. Telepsychiatry may or may not be covered by insurance, and it may take place in your home or at a local doctor’s office.

Checking Insurance Acceptance And Pricing

The Affordable Care Act requires most group and small private health insurance plans to cover mental health services. If you have a health insurance plan, that plan may cover mental health services with the same copays charged by your physical health services.

However, many psychiatrists don’t accept health insurance. According to a study by the NIH, approximately 88% of psychiatrists nationwide accept health insurance. In certain areas, this percentage is much lower. For example, the percentage of psychiatrists who accept insurance in the Northeast is only 48%. It’s approximately 43% in the South and 57% in the West. The Midwest is the easiest area to get psychiatry services because percentages are closer to the national average.

If you live in an area where most psychiatrists do not accept health insurance, you might start by comparing prices. Some psychiatrists may charge significantly more than others, so it’s common for patients to ask about pricing.

Researching Credentials

Once you find a psychiatrist, you may want to research their credentials. If you got a referral from your primary care doctor, the psychiatrist is likely to be licensed and board certified. However, if you got a referral from a friend or relative, you might want to check with the Board of Psychiatry to make sure that this psychiatrist is certified and licensed to practice in your state. You can also look up their education and any publications they have authored or co-authored to get a sense of their area of expertise.

Unfortunately, anyone can put up a website and slap a title at the end of their name. If you did a basic online search to find psychiatry services, do your homework and make sure that the person you’ve found is qualified and licensed to practice psychiatry.

The Interview

If you’re considering seeing a psychiatrist for your mental health concerns, you may start by setting up an interview with them. It’s normal to make an initial appointment and determine if you can work with a doctor before committing to a treatment plan. Most doctors have an intake appointment where they get to know you and your situation, talk about payment options, and lay out a treatment plan.

You can use this intake appointment to interview the psychiatrist and make sure you feel comfortable with them. You’re not alone in wanting to get to know a psychiatrist before committing to sharing with them.

Below, you’ll find tips on evaluating your psychiatrist.

Good Listening and Observation Skills

When it comes to finding a psychiatrist with strong listening skills, you might keep in mind that being a good listener isn’t just about hearing what you have to say. It’s about really paying attention and taking what you’re telling them into account.

If your psychiatrist doesn’t listen well, they might miss out on certain cues that are vital for recognizing when you’re feeling anxious. Also, if they’re not willing to listen to you about your symptoms or side effects from medications, they may not be willing to find the best medication for your particular case.

Communication Style

Everyone has a different communication style, and not all communication styles mesh. If you feel that you and your psychiatrist are not communicating well, you may need to look for a different doctor. Before you do that, however, let them know that you’re having a difficult time with their communication style, and give them a chance to make adjustments accordingly.

Willing To Spend Time Educating

Your psychiatrist should be willing to spend time educating you and your family about your condition. They should not simply listen to symptoms and prescribe medication. Instead, a good psychiatrist will educate you and your family about your symptoms and your diagnosis. They will work with you to develop a treatment plan and educate you on the methods that will be used.

If they’re prescribing medication, it’s imperative that they take the time to educate you about the medication and its potential side effects. A great doctor will let you know up front what to expect with medication and how long it should be before you start noticing relief from your symptoms.

Empathy

When it comes to seeing a psychiatrist, you deserve to talk to someone who demonstrates empathy. It’s particularly important that your psychiatrist shows empathy for your situation and doesn’t dismiss your feelings or emotions. This may be hard to assess at first, but a psychiatrist should make you feel like you’ve been heard so that you can share openly during each session.

Breadth And Depth Of Knowledge

Find A Psychiatrist Who Can Meet Your Needs

When searching for a psychiatrist, you might search for someone with a broad knowledge of different types of mental illness. Many symptoms can be indicative of more than one mental illness or condition. Without extensive knowledge and experience, your doctor may not be able to accurately diagnose and treat your condition.

Likewise, when you interview a psychiatrist, you might consider their knowledge about different types of therapies and medications. The same treatment does not always work for all patients, so they should demonstrate knowledge of multiple treatment modalities and alternative medications that can work for your unique situation.

Flexibility In Treatment Options

A good psychiatrist is flexible in offering treatment options, particularly when it comes to medications. It’s true that many medications take some time to be effective; sometimes it takes as long as two months before you feel relief. However, if you continue your treatment for several months with no relief, the psychiatrist should be willing to alter the treatment plan and offer different options.

A good psychiatrist will also listen to your opinions on how the treatment is going and whether it’s helping. If you have side effects from any medications, they should be willing to change course. Similarly, if you feel you could be taking less medication or if you’ve learned about a medication that you want to try, the doctor should be willing to entertain the idea and give you reasons why it is or isn’t appropriate.

The Frequency Of Treatment Sessions

Finally, you might consider asking how often a psychiatrist can meet with you. A patient who is currently stable and is responding well to treatment may be able to go three months between appointments. However, if treatment is just beginning or symptoms are not in remission, the patient should be seen more frequently.

It should also be easy to get an appointment with your doctor when necessary. Mental illness can be unpredictable. You may be feeling fine at your appointment and make a new appointment for three months out, only to start experiencing an increase in symptoms within a couple of weeks. In this case, it’s important for you to be able see your doctor frequently during times of crisis.

Don’t Be Afraid To Make A Change

If you don’t establish a good rapport with a doctor or don’t feel comfortable with their approach, it’s perfectly acceptable to switch medical practitioners. There is no shame in leaving a doctor for valid reasons, but don’t let it stop you from getting the help you need. Know that this is normal and that you will find another psychiatrist who can help.

Consider Licensed Therapy

Aside from psychiatry, therapy can also help with a number of mental health conditions, and you can even find therapy online. BetterHelp offers online therapy that is affordable, convenient, and secure. It may be particularly helpful if you live in a rural area or if you simply prefer to talk to someone outside your community. As an added benefit, working with BetterHelp allows you to receive help from the comfort of your own home.

You can read some reviews about BetterHelp counselors below from people experiencing different issues.

Counselor Reviews

“Erika is a Godsend. She had me look at my situation and grief in a healthier way. She is teaching me coping skills that I will be able to use the rest of my life. I like that I can text her whatever I am thinking and feeling that exact moment. She always responds quickly and is able to address the issues I texted. We also talked on the phone, which makes it all the more personal. I have gotten more out of my two weeks with Erika than I did with two years of conventional therapy with a psychiatrist and a counselor at the same time.”

“I cannot express how much Cindi has helped me in the past few weeks that I have had her as my counsellor. She’s helped me understand more about my conditions, helped me settle some things from my past, and has given me brilliant coping techniques that I will use in the future. I’ve been to many many psychiatrists but no one has ever been as wise, caring or considerate as Cindi. She’s helped me realise things about myself that I have never known. Cindi, if you ever read this, thank you so much for everything you do. ”

Takeaway

Finding a psychiatrist near you can seem difficult. With the right information, you can find a psychiatrist with experience helping people living with similar mental health concerns. A licensed professional at BetterHelp can also help you in your healing journey. Take the first step.

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