Your Number Story

Heal
Myself

Find a provider who understands you

If you don’t have a doctor right now, or you’d like to find a mental health professional on your own, telehealth may be an option to consider. With COVID, there are more reliable telehealth options than ever before, and some offer sliding scale or “pay what you can” options.

Whether you find a provider on your own or through your doctor, it’s important to find one who’s a good fit for you and your specific needs. Here are five steps you can take to a good match:

KNOW YOUR FOCUS

Start by asking yourself what you’d like help with. Are you looking for someone to talk to? Are you looking for someone who has worked with people like you before? Are you looking for someone to prescribe medicine if need be?

 

Here’s a breakdown of the different roles in mental healthcare, so you can have a better idea of what you’re looking for. It’s also okay if you don’t know. The most important thing is to reach out to a professional to start the process.

  • Psychologists – Psychologists help a wide variety of people with many kinds of challenges and problems. Psychologists can help people learn to cope with stressful situations, overcome addictions, and manage chronic illness. Many people talk to a psychologist because they have felt depressed, angry, or anxious for a long time.
  • Counselors, Therapists, and Clinical Social Workers – These practitioners hold a master’s degree and use different therapeutic techniques to help understand emotions, and change behaviors and patterns.
  • Psychiatrists – Psychiatrists are specially-trained medical doctors who can provide psychiatric diagnoses and prescribe medication.

ASK FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

If you can talk to people in your community about mental health, ask someone you trust who they like or would recommend. You can also Google “community health center” to find one near you, and then you can call to see if they have recommended providers near you.

SHOP AROUND

Once you have a few options (or even one option), call to see if they accept your insurance or, if not, if they have a sliding scale that fits your budget. Then set up an appointment so you can see if they’re the right fit for you. It’s important to feel comfortable, listened to, and understood by your practitioner, from both a personal and cultural perspective. Here are some questions to ponder:

  • What kind of vibe do you get from them?
  • Have they helped people who are struggling in ways similar to you?
  • Do you trust they have your best interest at heart, even when asking tough questions?
  • Look at their website and, if in person, around their waiting room and office. Do you feel like it reflects an understanding of your culture and identity?
  • Do you feel they have a clear sense of your personal and cultural background?
  • Do you feel like you can connect well on a language basis? Are they, literally, speaking your language?