How to Find Mental Health Care

  • The human brain is complex and filled with emotions and beliefs. Talking about what's going on up there can feel incredibly vulnerable -- because it is! It's also a great way to gain confidence, work through difficult situations, or address  stress, anxiety, or depression.

    Finding the best psychiatrist or therapist, a general term for all mental health providers, and treatment plan for your personal needs can be challenging. If you have a primary care provider, discussing your concerns with them can help guide you toward the right provider for you.

    Many of our customers find a therapist through a referral from a friend, teacher, doctor, or internet research. Some providers specialize in working with specific populations, such as elderly, adolescents, children, or married couples. It's not uncommon to meet with a couple of therapists to find a good fit for you. Feeling comfortable with your therapist is important for the success of the treatment.

    To check if your therapist is in your network, sign into your online account and use Find a Doctor to search by provider name. You can also search by specialty.

    There are several types of providers and licenses can vary by state. Here's a general idea of who does what.

    Psychiatrists

    • Are medical doctors with specialized training in mental health or substance abuse conditions
    • Diagnose, treat, prescribe, and manage both the mental and physical aspects of behavioral health.
    • Treat some of the more severe and complex behavioral health conditions.

    ARNP Psychiatrists

    • Are advanced registered nurse practitioners who specialize in psychiatric care; have advanced master's degrees.
    • Use talk therapy, medication, or a combination of both treatments.
    • Can diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication related to mental health conditions.

    Psychologists

    • Have doctoral degrees (PhD) in an area of psychology, and focus on treating mental health or substance abuse conditions.
    • Take care of people with mood and anxiety disorders and talk through issues. 
    • Provide you with the tactics to manage issues, perform testing to diagnose illness; however they don't prescribe medications.

    Licensed clinical mental health counselors (LMHC)

    • Have a master's or advanced degree and state license.
    • Provide individual and group counseling with difficult life events, such as relationship problems, death of loved ones, and illness.
    • Often use cognitive therapy, which is generally short-term and can help with anger management, panic, fears, depression, and anxiety.

    Licensed clinical social workers (LCSW)

    • Have master's degrees and are licensed to treat patients with either mental health or chemical dependency.
    • Can perform clinical evaluations, and provide therapy, and refer clients to resources. They do not prescribe medication.
    • Use therapy focused on changing behavior, understanding and dealing with emotions, or learning how to cope. This often includes identifying triggers and working on solutions.

    Licensed marriage and family therapists (MFT)

    • Marriage and family therapists are mental health professionals trained in psychotherapy and licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couples, and family systems.
    • Treat a wide range of clinical problems including depression, anxiety and issues within the context of the family.
    • Services are covered when the identified patient has a covered mental health diagnosis and marriage and family therapy is included in the patient's treatment plan.

    Some customers choose a therapist who isn't in network or doesn't take insurance. If your plan includes out-of-network provider coverage, you can submit a request for reimbursement of services. Check your benefit booklet to confirm your plan's coverage.


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