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How to Choose a Psychiatrist and Psychologist for Your Mental Health

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Mental health is one of the most important topics of today, as it is one of the most discussed ones as well. People are now more open to the idea of taking this issue seriously. There was a time when others would just label it as something that is “inside your head”. It can be quite damaging as this page says. They would say that you can improve your situation by exercising more and improving your diet. Science has proven that this is not the case all the time.

As more people are becoming aware of mental health issues, it is also apparent that more of them are looking for services that cater to it. Mental health professionals such as psychologists and psychiatrists are the cornerstones of this service. This is why it is important to know more about them and choose the best one for you.

Factors for your consideration

However, choosing one of them is different from any other doctor. It is important to know about their differences first since they do have some. For one, most psychologists cannot administer any kind of medication. Only the psychiatrist can do that, but both can do counselling as well as other techniques. Psychology might be considered as a soft science, but it is already a fact that it does need more scientific process than other social sciences.

Things are way different now than two or three decades ago. When it comes to psychiatrists and psychologists, people now say that going to them is just like visiting any other kind of doctor. It is part of normalizing mental health consultations, thus trying to erase the stigma against people who suffer from mental conditions. This is great since there has been an increase in their clientele based on many research papers. Once it was called going to the shrink, but now there is a positive connotation behind it.

When it comes to service

  1. Be familiar with the practitioner. It is important to know first about what you need. If you just want to counsel, then either would be great. Those who go to psychiatrists though might need medical treatment or medicine. Meanwhile, if you just want someone who you can talk to about your issues, it would always be better to just choose a psychologist. Meanwhile, it is vital to do some research about the practitioners around your area. You need to be familiar with their specialisations as not all these professionals can handle all types of cases. Some focus more on couples, while others cater to children. There is even a demographic that focuses more on the judicial side, making statements and assessments about persons going to trial. Choose one that would be preferable in your situation, as all of them are different. 
  2. Read about the reviews. Once you have already grouped them according to their specialization, then it is time to dig in some reviews. If you are already a part of a group that deals with these problems, then you can start there by looking for recommendations. Your family and friends can also be a part of the conversation if you are open to them about it. Here’s how you can make it possible: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/coming-out-about-mental-illness. It is to be noted though that not all clinics have a page online. Some of them do not even try to advertise at all. This is because the field of psychology is something that is not easy to market due to complications. It all boils down to the morality of it, as dealing with mental health issues is not the same as any other kind of sickness. You might need to look deeper to find a review, but it can be worth a read. 
  3. Interact with them to be sure. Meanwhile, the reviews might not paint the most well-rounded picture when it comes to psychologists and psychiatrists. Sometimes, it can even be quite erroneous as it boils down to personal preference. It might be better to interact with one at first before deciding on whether to stay as a client. Some clinics would be open for walk-in clients. However, most of them do require you to schedule your visit so that they can arrange the times properly. Most of them do charge by the hour, so you need to know that before going in. It can be pricey to just stay for one session, but some clinics even offer a free consultation first. This can be a great way to establish yourself with a mental health professional.
  4. Knowledge of price points would be great for comparison. It can be quite expensive to go to book a session, but this depends on the psychologist or psychiatrist. Their experience, background, and specialisation might influence the price. For example, child psychologists are usually more expensive than adult ones since they are dealing with children. It can be tough to find one as well since they can be quite rare in the field. If you are in a school, then it would be best to approach your guidance counsellor first. It is usually a part of your tuition, so it would be best to use that. Also, some companies already have this as a part of their program. Ask your workplace fist if they do support it and what you can do to avail.


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Peter Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.

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