Questions to ask your Mental Health Professional

For the month of April I am participating in the annual A-Z Blogging Challenge. The Challenge was started by author/blogger, Arlee Byrd.  http://tossingitout.blogspot.com

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 Each day of the month (except Sundays) we will post something based on that days correlating letter. Some of us chose a theme and others are winging it. My theme is the A-to-Z’s of Mental Health, Raising Awareness. It is a topic that is very close to my heart. I hope you find the posts interesting and you will comment and share the posts everywhere. To see a list of all of the participants or for more information-click on the badge over there to the right>

Today’s letter is the letter Q

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Questions to Ask your Medical Health Provider

Finding a mental health provider can be challenging to say the least, especially if you are experiencing a crisis. If you have a family/primary care doctor that is a good place to start. Most family doctors are able to diagnose mental health conditions and can prescribe medications. Continued care should be done with a provider that specializes in mental health treatment.

Ask your primary doctor, friends, relatives etc… if they can refer you to a mental health professional.

Types of Providers

 Psychiatrist- A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health illnesses. They are able to prescribe medication.

Psychiatric Nurse Professional- They can do what a psychiatrist can do including prescribing prescriptions.

Clinical Psychologist- They can diagnose, treat and educate on mental illnesses. They are not medical doctors and they cannot prescribe medications. However some states are beginning to train and license psychologists to be able to prescribe medications.

Licensed Social Worker- Can diagnose, treat and educate. Cannot prescribe medications.

Licensed professional counselor- Can diagnose, treat and educate. Cannot prescribe medications.

Questions to ask before your Appointment

Most of these questions can be asked of the receptionist.

1.Does your practice take my insurance

2.Treat my condition?

3.Have night, weekend hours?

4.After hour emergency care?

5.Affiliated with a local hospital?

6.Someone on staff that is able to prescribe medications?

7.Credentials, education, specialties?

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Questions to ask the Professional

 Visiting any type of doctor can be nerve wracking. Always write out a list of questions and concerns before your appointment. That way if you feel rushed or nervous, you won’t forget to get the answers you need.

1.What are my treatment options?

2.Are there risks associated with my treatment?

3.How long will it be before I start to feel better?

4.Does the medication have side effects? What are they? Are there alternatives?

5.How long will my therapy last?

6.Will you involve my family in my treatment?

7.Once my symptoms are under control what can I do to keep them from returning?

Mental health providers will not disclose anything you tell them in confidence. They are bound by ethics. However if you talk about hurting another person they are bound by law to report your intentions.

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