You’ve decided to get help—that itself is a big step—now it’s important that you understand options for treatment. You may end up trying a few different options or a combination of treatments, not just one. That’s okay—it is all about what works best for you. This list doesn’t include everything, and there are many other treatments and providers. Make sure you tell your treatment team about all of the options you’re using.
Common Treatment Types
Therapy: There are many approaches to therapy for individuals and groups, including cognitive behavioral therapy.
Provided by: Psychologists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs), Pastoral Counselors, other specialists like Marriage and Family Therapists, some Psychiatrists, Inpatient Care, Hospitals
Medication: Medications are not cures, but they can treat symptoms. Every medication has benefits, risks, and side effects. Keep in mind that it may take 6-8 weeks for a medication to have its full effect.
Provided by: Psychiatrists, Other Medical Doctors, Nurse Practitioners and Physician’s Assistants (under supervision of a doctor), Inpatient Facilities, Hospitals
Peer Support: While they are not counselors, peers can give valuable insight on how to recover from mental illnesses because they have experience. Peers provide hope, education and advocacy.
Provided by: Certified Peer Specialists, Peer Supporters, Support Groups, Online Support Communities
Community-Based Services: Community-based mental health services are team approaches that help you and your family work on all aspects of life and recovery. Common community services include: evaluations of your mental health and role in the community, education to empower personal recovery, individual and group therapy, case management, and supported education and employment. These services are provided through small or large programs and while some work might be completed in an office, most of the treatment is provided at your home and in your natural environment.
Provided by: Local MHAs, Community Mental Health Treatment organizations and programs. Check out the SAMHSA Treatment Locator at: findtreatment.samhsa.gov
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Nearly 40% of Americans use health care approaches developed outside of mainstream Western, or conventional, medicine for specific conditions or overall well-being. The most commonly used natural product among adults in the past 30 days was fish oil/omega 3s (reported by 37.4 percent of all adults who said they used natural products).
Provided by: Doctors, Pharmacies, Internet (Caution advised—some natural supplements can have serious interactions with medications. Always discuss Complementary and Alternative treatments with a doctor.)
Self-Care: Self-care can include online, self-managed programs like Beating the Blues, which can improve the symptoms of anxiety and depression.(2) It can also include things like exercise, which can have a moderate effect on depression.(3)
Provided by: You
Even if you have insurance, not all providers will accept it. There are many reasons that this happens, including low reimbursement rates and large amounts of paperwork. However, you may be able to get reimbursed for some of your care—ask your insurance company about out-of-network care and their reimbursement process. Check out this guide on How Insurance Works atwww.mentalhealthamerica.net/how-insurance-works or view frequently asked questions aboutinsurance at www.mentalhealthamerica.net/insurance-questions.
It’s going to take a while to see someone. Nationally, there’s only 1 mental health provider for 790 adults. With 1 in 5 adults experiencing a mental health condition in a given year, a lot of those providers have their hands full.This is a network problem that groups like Mental Health America are trying to change at national, state, and local levels.
It’s going to cost money. For example, individuals nationwide spent an average of 10 percent of their family’s annual income out of pocket for mental health/substance abuse treatment. However, the cost of waiting can be worse. If you need help paying for treatment, visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net/paying-care.
Your first provider may not be “the one”. Choosing a mental health provider can be kind of like dating. Sometimes, you’re just not compatible. You may have to change providers before you feel comfortable. While it can feel like a hassle, it’s worth it to find the right fit.
Some people are going to be critical or doubtful. More than half of people believe that others are caring and sympathetic to individuals with mental illness; however that may not always be the case. You may encounter some naysayers, but there are also people who will support you and want you to get better. If you don’t have them in your life, you can find them in support groups or online communities.