All mental health care professionals are not equal. Not only are there a variety of health care professions, there are also different levels of expertise, and the two don’t necessarily always correlate.
In other words, do not be afraid to do some research when seeking help. It is worth the extra effort to find the right treatment if you are in a position to do so and are not in a crisis situation.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is an excellent source of information. Their website contains descriptions of the different types of mental health care workers.
When you are doing your research, keep the following questions in mind:
- Does this person have experience and/or specialize in your particular mental health issue?
- What age group does this person typically work with?
- What treatment options are available?
- Do you want to work with a male or female?
- Are there resources available for family members?
Once you have done your research and come up with a list of possibilities, the next step is finding someone with whom you are comfortable. This can be the biggest challenge. Remember to keep an open mind at your initial meeting. Ask as many question as possible and listen carefully to their feedback. It takes awhile to develop a good working relationship, and this can only happen if you are comfortable with that individual. If it doesn’t feel like a good fit, don’t be discouraged and give up. Chances are if you continue your search, you will find the right match.
If you are in a life-threatening situation, feeling hopeless or suicidal, then Do Not Delay – seek help immediately! Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at: 1-800-273-TALK and they will be able to assist you.