*Content provided courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC
YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH!
Mental health professionals are in high demand right now. Given that we’re eighteen months into a deadly global pandemic, this is no surprise. Many of us are grieving the loss of loved ones, jobs, plans, and normalcy. And if that’s not hard enough, the stresses of our everyday lives haven’t stopped.
If you’re struggling with your mental health and need some extra support, you’re not alone. Studies show that the rate of anxiety and depression has risen significantly among American adults during the pandemic. And our children’s mental health is suffering, too. Seeking the services of a qualified therapist may be one of the best things you can do to regain your bearings and mental health. However, for many, starting therapy can feel like a huge wall to climb. Where do you even start?
See if your employer offers counseling.
When starting therapy, it’s common to be hesitant and intimidated. It may seem like a huge, long-term commitment (although it doesn’t have to be), and you may not feel ready for that.
Lots of companies offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). They provide short-term counseling and referrals for personal and/or work-related stresses. They can also provide a bridge to therapy that feels comfortable to you.
Check with your employer’s HR department to see if they offer an EAP or something similar.
Talk to your primary care doctor.
If you have a primary care doctor who you trust, that’s a great place to start. Your doctor can listen to your concerns and help you figure out your next steps. If therapy is something you’re interested in, many primary care doctors keep a list of local therapists and can give you a referral.
Check out resources like Psychology Today.
Psychology Today and other websites offer free directories where you can search for a therapist. Just enter your location, then filter by any of the following categories:
- Insurance. Look for providers who take your insurance and are in-network. If you need help confirming that a mental health professional is in-network, you can call the mental health benefits number on the back of your insurance card.
- Issues. You’ll want to find a therapist who specializes in, or regularly works, with similar issues. Whether it’s addiction, anxiety or depression, family or relationship conflict, trauma, disordered eating—look for a clinician who is well-versed in the areas you need help with.
- Ethnicity served, sexuality, gender, language, and faith. Many people feel most comfortable seeing a therapist who shares their identities or understands their background. If this is you, you might want to filter by some of these categories. Reading a therapist’s bio can also help you determine whether they are a good fit for your preferences.
From there, you can email a therapist directly. Most therapists offer free phone consultations so you can learn more about whether you would be a good fit.
Take Charge Of Your Mental Health!
It’s not uncommon to have some concerns about starting therapy but remember that you’re in the driver’s seat. If you don’t click with a therapist, you can keep looking until you find the right fit. The relationship between you and your therapist is the key to success. Within that trusting relationship, you’ll be able to explore your feelings and thoughts safely and comfortably.
Therapy can help you become a better person. You can feel safer in your relationships, more empowered in your decisions, communicate better and develop more and healthier coping skills. Whatever you’re going through, there’s a good chance therapy can help you.