Unresolved mental health problems and related issues can impact you negatively. About 25% of American adults over 18 have a diagnosable mental disorder. This usually co-occurs with anxiety disorders and substance abuse. And since the Covid-19 pandemic, over 42% of employees have indicated a decline in their mental health.
If you have been feeling down, stressed out, or unmotivated for long periods, it is best to get a mental health evaluation as soon as possible.
The assessment gathers information about your mental health to help determine if you need treatment. It can assess the presence of a mental health disorder, check symptoms and determine the severity of your problem. It also helps you understand how your condition affects your daily life and work. You will also know what kind of treatment is most effective for you.
The sooner you get a mental health evaluation, the better. Even if you don’t believe you need help, it’s still a good idea to get evaluated by a professional who can recommend the appropriate treatment.
So what steps can you take to get a mental health evaluation and treatment?
How to Get Your Mental Health Evaluated
1. Talk to Someone You Trust and Respect
Talking to someone about how you feel is the first step to getting the help you may need. Many resources are available to help you discuss your concerns and get the help you need. You can also talk to a friend, family member, teacher, or clergyperson.
Whatever the case, make sure this person knows you are willing to be open and honest with them whenever they ask questions or want your input. The more we talk about it, the more we can break down stigmas and stereotypes about mental illness.
2. Get a Referral
One of the first steps in finding a mental health evaluation is getting a referral from your primary care physician (PCP). Most PCPs will refer you to an EAP or other support group when they are concerned about your mental health. The best way to find out about these options is by calling your PCP office and asking for referrals within your community.
Your doctor may have access to a specialist or psychologist who works with people experiencing depression or anxiety. Ask if there are online resources that can help connect you with the appropriate resources, rehabs, or detox centers in your area.
If you have a chronic mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, your doctor may choose to refer you for an evaluation. If you’re experiencing any of the following, it could be time for a mental health evaluation:
- Anxiety or depression
- Mood swings
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Feeling often overwhelmed or feeling like there’s too much to do at once
- Difficulty sleeping through the night or getting up early in the morning
Your doctor will provide valuable information on the available treatment at the facility you plan to attend. He or she can also help determine if any medical conditions prevent you from receiving treatment.
3. Seek Out a Licensed Mental Health Provider
If you’re having difficulty managing symptoms that are interfering with your daily life, speak with a mental health professional who can offer guidance and suggestions for treatment options.
Check online or contact a Resource Specialist at rtor.org for reputable mental health clinics or treatment centers near you. Your mental health provider can effectively determine if your symptoms warrant a mental health evaluation and treatment.
To get the best possible care and treatment for yourself or someone else, you must find a licensed mental health provider specializing in treating various mental health issues.
Mental health professionals use various strategies to help people cope with mental health issues and symptoms while improving their quality of life. These include treatment for trauma, psychotherapy, talk therapy, and tailored medical treatment.
Some medical doctors have advanced training in psychiatry. They may work with other professionals, such as psychotherapists or psychologists, on-site at clinics or mental health treatment centers if necessary.
4. Communicate With Your Insurance Provider
Make sure that you have all of your insurance information ready when you go for your appointment. Your insurance company may require that you see a psychiatrist or psychologist before they will authorize payment for treatment. They may also want to know if you have any other health conditions that need to be considered before approving coverage for mental health services.
Your insurance carrier may require that you notify them before scheduling an appointment, so they can approve it and give the authorization to proceed with an evaluation. This is also important because it allows them to know how much coverage they have available for mental health services through their plan.
Most insurance companies will cover most or all of the costs associated with receiving treatment in a residential setting if it helps improve your condition and overall well-being (which should include both physical and mental health). You’ll need to determine whether any co-payments or deductible payments need to be made before you can claim any benefits under their plan.
When visiting your preferred mental health residential treatment center, bring a copy of your insurance card, if applicable. This will help them know how much coverage you have and how much it will cost. It also helps them determine the covered services under your plan. Depending on your insurance type and the benefits your carrier offers, some services may be covered while others may not.
5. Make an Appointment and Prepare for Your First Appointment With a Trusted Professional
Making an appointment with your mental health professional is a critical step in getting treatment for your condition. Once you’ve found an appropriate provider, make an appointment for an initial assessment so that they can determine what kind of treatment best suits your needs. You’ll need to schedule an appointment at least one week in advance so you have plenty of time to prepare for your first meeting with the doctor or therapist.
The preparation process involves:
- Understand the different types of mental health conditions and their symptoms. Make sure you know what to expect when you visit your doctor for a mental health evaluation.
- Prepare questions you will ask your doctor about any medications they prescribe for you and if they have any side effects.
Mental Health Evaluation: What to Do Next
● Complete a Mental Health Assessment
Mental health evaluations can be confusing for many people, especially if you have not received one before. However, mental health evaluations are vital in assessing your condition and determining the best course of treatment.
The mental health evaluation is best performed in person. This will ensure that the evaluation process is thorough and accurate. If possible, bring along any documents relating to this issue that you would like to share with your evaluator.
Your doctor or therapist will want to know about any previous treatment you’ve received and any medications you take regularly. They may ask twice or thrice during the conversation if there are any specific questions you need answers to before proceeding with the evaluation process.
Your mental health professional will assess your current condition and make treatment recommendations. The evaluation should include questions about your symptoms, family history of mental illness, past experiences with therapy, substance use history, and other information relevant to your diagnosis. You may also need to provide blood or urine samples for testing if there is reason to believe that a medical condition or addiction causes symptoms.
● Receive a Diagnosis and Treatment Plan, If Appropriate
A mental health evaluation can provide an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan to address your condition. Your treatment plan may include medication or counseling sessions with professionals (such as psychiatrists), medications, and other treatments such as therapy or support groups.
Your mental health center will give you an overall diagnosis and develop an individualized treatment plan. This plan will include information on medication options, therapy options, specific goals for improvement, follow-up appointments, and more.
Your individualized treatment plan will depend on many factors, including:
- The severity of your symptoms.
- Your age and gender.
- How long you’ve had symptoms.
- The kind of support systems do you have (family or friends) to care for yourself or others when needed?
Discuss with your doctor how long you should wait before seeing them again if they recommend further treatment or follow-up care.
● Follow Up With Your Treatment Plan
After receiving your diagnosis and treatment plan from your primary care physician, follow-up visits are essential to ensure that all aspects of your care continue to be effective. Most clinicians suggest having at least one follow-up visit every month.
After receiving a diagnosis, you’ll need to commit yourself 100 % to improve. This means following all of your doctor’s recommendations for medication and therapy.
Ensure you learn and adopt self-care methods to maintain your mental health and improve your recovery. You should also avoid habits and situations that trigger your mental health issues.
● Join a Community or Support Group
Joining an online community or support group can be helpful. These groups provide both social interaction and information about disorders and treatments. They can also offer emotional support for those going through similar struggles and encourage those trying to overcome their problems.
Being part of a community or support group will allow you to socialize with others with similar issues. You will also find out what others have done to overcome their mental health issues. This can help you learn from other people’s mistakes and successes, which can help guide you in your recovery process.
Get Your Evaluation Today
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder, it’s important to receive help. A mental health evaluation can help you get the necessary treatment and support. Getting a mental health evaluation may seem complicated, but it is not and can lead to a better quality of life for you and your loved ones.
If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.
About the Author: Joni Ogle, Chief Executive Officer at The Heights Treatment, has over 25 years of clinical experience, management, and leadership in working with adults and young adults suffering from addiction and trauma.
She is a licensed clinical social worker and a certified sex addiction therapist with additional training in Recreational Therapy, Pia Mellody’s Post Induction Therapy, and Dr. Brené Brown’s The Daring Way Shame Resilience curriculum.
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.
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