How to Choose a Mental Health Provider: Finding the Right Option for You

Updated on February 9, 2023

Whether you’ve been struggling under the weight of depression or you just feel lost and devoid of joy lately, therapy can be a much-needed ally during this challenging time. People are slowly embracing therapy as a formidable tool for maintaining a healthy mind and body, so you’re not alone. In 2020 alone, 46.2% of U.S. adults with mental illness received treatment, according to the National Alliance of Mental Health. That’s a massive improvement from the previous years. 

It’s one thing to know and accept that you have a mental health issue, but it’s an entirely different thing to find a professional who suits your specific treatment needs. No need to worry, though; we’ve done the legwork for you. Below, we share some tips on how to locate the best mental health provider for you.

1. Determine What You Need

To find a good mental health provider, you need to think about your needs first. These may vary from counseling and psychotherapy to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), to name a few. To identify your mental health needs, you must first ask yourself some important questions. For example:

  • Are you suffering from a specific disorder or condition? 
  • Have you been treated before for the same ailment? 
  • Are you looking primarily for someone to talk to? 
  • Would you want a professional who respects your unique wishes? 

Formulating questions like these and answering them can help you fully understand what you’d need from a mental health provider. It’s OK to not have all of the answers right now, but this will help you get started.

2. Ask for Referrals

Many individuals feel most comfortable visiting a mental health professional who is recommended by someone close to them, such as a friend, colleague, or family member. Ask around and see what professional your friends or workmates visit. You can also ask another health care specialist with whom you have a relationship, like a primary care doctor, nurse practitioner, or even your optometrist, for a recommendation. 

3. Do Your Due Diligence

Chances are you wouldn’t hire someone to make renovations in your house without doing a little research into the quality of their work. So why would you pick a mental health provider without doing the same? At this point, it’s likely that you already have a few names on hand. Look them up on Google one after the other and see what comes up.

Then visit each provider’s website. Many mental health professionals will list their degree, license, or other training certifications (such as an MD, NBCC, CMHP, etc.) and areas of specialization clearly on their websites. If they haven’t, ask. There’s also likely to be a bio somewhere on the website. Read it. If anything, it’ll give you a sense of whether you’ll be comfortable with the provider based on their tone, field of expertise, and years of experience. 

Sometimes, though, you need a team—not an individual. An interdisciplinary team can closely work with you to establish goals and develop a truly personalized and effective treatment plan. Find a mental health treatment center, such as Alter Behavioral Health, that applies a modern understanding of mental health that emphasizes treating the condition as well as the person.

5. Make a Call

Armed with no more than three names, it’s now time to call and ask a few questions. To avoid losing track midway, be sure to write down a list of questions beforehand. In some cases, a receptionist may answer your questions right away. However, if possible, insist on talking to the actual provider. If they ask you to schedule an initial consultative session, do it. Here are a few issues to consider asking every prospective provider about:

  • Their treatment plan, approach, or philosophy. This is to ensure you pick someone who suits your unique needs and style.
  • Whether they specialize in specific age groups or disorders. Some, for example, work only with young adults. Others specialize only in CBT.
  • Length of sessions, payment structure, office hours, and if it’s a mental health care center. Take a tour of the facilities, and make sure it’s serene, fully furnished, and with carefully curated outdoor areas.

Your Recovery Journey 

It can be overwhelming, but you’re on the right track. Even researching this topic is taking you one step closer to getting the help you need. By following the steps above, you can find the right mental health provider and treatment center for your needs.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.