Frequently Asked Questions About Mental Health
How do I determine if I might have a mental health condition?
Only professionals in the fields of psychology, counseling, social work, psychiatry, and medicine can diagnose a mental health condition. Online screening tools or opinions from friends and family are not enough to diagnose a mental health condition.
You may be uncomfortable or fear talking about your mental health to your doctor. However, it is important to discuss your concerns and symptoms so you can get the help you need.
What kind of services are there and who should I see?
There are a variety of services for mental health conditions. The lists of professionals and their specialties are listed here.
Are there support groups in my area? How do I find them?
Support groups are non-professional organizations that offer spaces for people to come together for peer support. There are many different support groups available for mental health conditions.
A few resources that offer specific support topics include:1-3
Will my insurance cover mental health services?
Though laws have been made that mandate mental health insurance coverage, there are still things you need to keep in mind. Differences in costs, limits, and coverage still exist. The best way to find out coverage, as well as professionals in your network, is to call the customer service number of your insurance company, or look up your policy benefits online.4
Other resources that offer support are:5-8
- Medicaid and Medicare offer mental health benefits.
- Tricare for active duty military members, has mental health coverage.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers an online resource that can help you find out more about coverage.
Are there services specifically for the LGBTQ+ community?
Health disparity is a term used to explain differences in health between groups of people. The LGBTQ+ community has a long history of health disparities. Because of this, many professionals are now trained to work with the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community.
There are many resources that can direct you to an affirming mental health specialist in your area. Some resources include:9-11
- A Get-Started Guide to LGBT Mental Health Resources from Pride
- LGBTQI resources from the National Alliance for Mental Health
- LGBT Youth Resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Are mental health professionals trained to work with someone who looks like me?
Mental health providers are trained in working with diverse cultures, races, and ethnicities. Some also identify as or specialize in serving specific cultural groups. There may be barriers that need to be discussed with your mental health professional to bridge any differences in understanding each other.
If you feel that a professional is unable to meet your needs, consider asking for a referral from your doctor or someone you trust. You may also contact your insurance company for other providers in your area.
I would prefer not to talk to my doctor about my mental health. Are there other options?
Though doctors are trained to diagnose and treat many mental health conditions, some people want to start somewhere else. Talking to your doctor may feel awkward or scary. It is important to understand that mental health is just as important as physical health. Your doctor can help you get the treatment you need, find resources available, and help you come up with a plan for your mental health.
One option is to speak with your insurance company about therapists or counselors in your area. Another option is to ask your doctor for a mental health referral without disclosing why you are seeking it. A third option is using online mental health resources to find care in your area.
Some people recover from mental health conditions without prescription drugs. Some disorders, or the severity of a disorder, may require prescription drugs. Psychotherapy combined with medicine can be an effective approach.12
Can mental health drugs help me?
There are many different medicines used to treat mental health conditions. Talk to your doctor about any medication you may be taking or want to take.