Where to look for mental healthcare

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Jul 27, 2021

It's confusing out there

Finding the right kind of mental health support can be overwhelming. Before you start it helps to ask yourself a few key questions so that you focus on finding a solution that will work for you.

First question: Are you looking for help with an addiction?

If you are, that sends you into an entirely different world of providers and options. We'll be publishing a guide to addiction support in the next few weeks so stay tuned.

Second question: Counseling, meds, or both?

People have been trying to answer this question for decades, and they’ve produced mountains of research papers. A lot of those papers are highly biased (written by some people who hate medications, and other people who love them). The good news is that a general consensus has emerged among researchers, which is this:

Some people do better with counseling, some people do better with medications, and some people do better with both. There’s really no way to know what group you’re in until you try.

Actually, there’s a little bit of evidence that the type of treatment that you believe will be most helpful actually will.

If you want counseling/therapy/coaching-type stuff, there are many classes of providers who can help. If you want medications, you have to see an MD (or nurse practitioner). It could be your primary care doctor, but psychiatrists have waaaay more training in psychiatric meds, and do a much better job.

Third question: How do I find a great counselor or therapist?

The quality of your connection with a counselor or therapist is the most important way of knowing whether they can help you. If you talk with someone once or twice, you’ll be able to get a feel for whether they’re a good fit for you. You have every right to expect they should be warm, compassionate, and feel like your ally in whatever you’re facing. If that’s not the case, you should try someone else.

Another question to ask yourself is: Am I looking for an authority figure or a supportive relationship? If you believe what you need is an authoritative mentor figure, then look for someone with a high level of training in your specific issue, or in a specific approach. You might prefer a PhD psychologist over a Masters-level social worker or peer counselor.

If you’re looking for understanding and empathy, their level of academic training probably won’t matter as much, and a solution like Peer Collective (where we hire only exceptionally empathetic people) might be a great fit.

If so we look forward to speaking to you soon! Click here to find a peer counselor to speak to today.

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