How to Know What Type of Mental Health Professional to Talk To

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mental health

Your mental health is important to ensure that you have a good quality of life. However, as it is with life, you could be having some issues that are disturbing you. You may be suffering from depression, anxiety, trauma, domestic abuse, all of which can affect your mental health.

Fortunately, you can get help from a mental health professional. The question you may ask is which one? Do you need to contact a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychotherapist, counselor, or therapist?

If they all seem the same to you, here is how you can determine which one to talk to about your mental health issues.

Know the Types of Mental Health Professionals 

If you know the various types of mental health professionals and their roles, then you will know the one to talk to when you have a mental health issue.

Did you know there is a difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor whose role is to treat mental illness as well as prevent and diagnose. Ideally, this is the first mental health professional you should visit in case you think you have a medical problem.

Psychiatrists can write prescriptions given that they are medical doctors. Their approach to treating mental illness is by using medication although they can combine with psychotherapy if the situation demands. In some cases, a psychiatrist provides psychotherapy to the patient while in other cases he refers the patient to a psychologist. Mental disorders that can be treated using drugs are bipolar, anxiety, ADHD, and depression.

A psychologist is a professional specifically trained in psychology and therefore not a medical doctor. In most cases, they work together with psychiatrists or medical doctors. When the psychologist is providing psychotherapy, the medical doctor provides treatment for the mental illness. Some of the approaches used in psychotherapy are behavioral therapy, psychoanalytic, cognitive therapy, humanistic therapy, and holistic therapy.

Other mental health professionals are mental health nurses, clinical social workers, mental health counselors, family counselors, religious counselor among others.

Identify Your Mental Health Needs

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Why do you need to see a mental health professional? The answer to this question can help you to know the professional you need to talk to.

For example, if you have bipolar disorder or depression, then you will need to see a psychiatrist for medication and psychotherapy. If it is family problems, then a family or a religious counselor can handle that.

While at it, you should also consider the training, specialty, methods, convenience, availability, and schedule of the professional.

As you look for a therapist in Vancouver or anywhere in the world for that matter, consider these factors.

Consult Your Primary Care Doctor

Your primary care doctor can advise you on the best mental health professional to talk to. So, once you feel you have mental health problems, you should first seek help from your doctor.

Why so? Because you need to know if you really have a mental problem. Sometimes your mental problem may be caused by a physical condition and can go away with a few medications. In other cases, your physical illness could be because you have a mental illness.

In that case, your doctor can assess your condition and help you to choose the right mental health professional and the type of therapy that is suitable for you.

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