5 ways to make the most of mental health care
Many people seek help with a mental health issue at the family doctor's office. Here are some guidelines to ensure a positive experience:
- Before your primary care doctor writes a prescription, ask about alternatives such as counseling. Sometimes drugs alone aren't enough; sometimes medications aren't needed at all.
- If your family doctor refers you to a psychologist, psychiatrist or counselor, ask yourself: Am I going to follow through? If the answer is no, ask if there's another option, such as a phone consult involving your doctor and a mental health professional.
- Inquire about integrated primary care. Don't be deterred if your family doctor doesn't have a mental health professional on staff. Ask if they can schedule to have a mental health professional, such as a counselor, come into the office for a consultation.
- Insist on good communication. If you've been seeing a mental health professional who is not under your primary care doctor's roof, make sure the two providers are in touch so everyone is on the same page regarding treatment.
- Be honest with your doctor about your emotional well-being. Always be sure to mention any side effects from medications. If treatment isn't working, tell your doctor and don't be afraid to get a second opinion.