How to Find a Mental Health Provider and Community Mental Health Resources

June 25, 2021

We have a lot more awareness of the importance of mental health now than we did even just 10 or 20 years ago. There are billboards and signs at bus stops encouraging people to “reach out” if they feel depressed or anxious. Social media is full of posts and hashtags aiming to destigmatize going to therapy and taking medication, to bring awareness to suicide prevention, and to normalize talking about one’s own mental health struggles. These campaigns are important, especially after the collective trauma we lived through with the coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns. 

However, for people who came of age when therapy and medication were still something unusual or for people with “serious problems,” the messaging around mental health awareness might feel somewhat alienating. It’s easy to rationalize our own distress by telling ourselves it’s not “that bad” or “other people have it worse.” That may be true, but you don’t have to be at your absolute worst to deserve mental health care. In fact, it can be far more effective to seek therapy or medication before you are at a breaking point. 

There are more reasons than denial that keep people from getting professional mental health care. If you are on a tight budget and can’t find a provider to take your insurance, accessing care is much more difficult. People who are providing care for a family member, partner, or spouse may be so consumed by those duties that they have a hard time carving out time to even research their options, let alone actually getting to a weekly appointment. The same goes for people who have a loved one dealing with their own mental health crisis or addiction, as we talked about a few weeks ago. Something mental health awareness campaigns overlook is that it can be pretty challenging to find and access good mental health care. 

Find Mental Health Care with These Tips

Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. In the article on how grandparents can help grandkids who are experiencing mental health problems, there were tips on how to find a therapist. 

They work just as well for you as for your grandkids! 

  • Call your insurance company and ask for a list of in-network providers. The list can be e-mailed or faxed to you or sent through the mail, depending on your preference. 
  • Research the providers to see if they seem like they would be a good fit for you.
  • Call the providers to ask about an initial appointment. 
  • You’ll probably leave a lot of voice messages. Make yourself a script to read from, so you don’t have to make up something new every time.
  • You can also use Psychology Today’s “Find a Therapist” tool. You can filter your search to include providers who take your insurance, who will work on a sliding scale, and who work with your specific issue, among other filters. 
  • If you don’t have luck with your insurance or Psychology Today, try searching your city plus community mental health or sliding scale therapist. This will bring you results for low-cost therapy.
  • Don’t forget to check the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) website for resources. 
  • When alcohol or drug abuse is a big issue, search for 12-step meetings in your area. Many are currently on Zoom, and there are also call-in meetings. 

We hope these tips help you find the mental health care you deserve! As always, feel free to subscribe to our newsletter if you found this on social media and get back to living your best life!

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