Making the choice to ask for help with intense emotions and behaviours is difficult. However, consulting a licensed medical professional is the first step toward recovery. Psychiatrists diagnose conditions and prescribe medications or other types of treatment for sleep problems, anxiety, depression, or psychosis.
But what makes a great psychiatrist? What are the traits that characterise the “ideal’ ‘psychiatrist? How does one psychiatrist become great? There are many possible answers depending on who is asked.
Here are some tips for choosing the best provider:
Start by creating a referral list of potential options by consulting your primary care doctor, a healthcare clinic, or your insurance company. Add to your list by asking family and friends for recommendations. Even with referrals, make sure you do research about the doctor’s credentials and experience.
Psychiatrists are DOs or MDs. There are many different types of psychiatry practices and clinical specialities. Some psychiatrists only work at residential facilities or in a hospital. Some work at a regular medical practice.
If a psychiatrist is recommended often, that probably means that they have a great track record.
Is the provider’s office updated and modern, or outdated and uncomfortable?
When deciding on what psychiatrist you want to hire, evaluate the office space first. According to Omnially, you should keep your eye out for office features such as digital bulletin boards, magazines, music, etc. These features show that the practice cares about giving visitors a pleasant experience and keeping clients up to date on important info.
When it comes to mental health, the experience is essential. The more experience a psychiatrist has with certain conditions or disorders, the more likely they are a worthwhile option to consider for your condition.
Don’t be afraid to ask a psychiatrist how many patients they have treated. If you are curious about a specific procedure, ask them how many times they’ve performed that procedure.
The more years they have under their belt, the more likely they are to provide outstanding care.
Board certification is one of the most important things to think about when choosing a psychiatrist. It lets you know whether a psychiatrist has the necessary experience and training to provide expert advice and care.
If you are looking for a child’s psychiatrist, looking for someone that’s board-certified in child psychiatry. If you are an older patient, look for someone who has experience treating your specific age group.
Make sure the doctors you consider don’t have any medical malpractice claims. You can easily find information about a psychiatrist’s medical school, certifications, training hospital, and disciplinary history on state websites.
Some providers can diagnose and treat patients through telehealth appointments using two-way video, smartphones, or email.
It’s always good to ask whether the provider you are interested in offers telehealth appointments. It shows that they are committed to making accessing quality mental health care easy and convenient.
While virtual appointments can’t replace in-office visits, they are a great option for people who want to make fewer office visits.
You should always read what other patients of a psychiatrist have to say about how they practice medicine and the quality of their services.
Patient reviews address all aspects of a doctor’s visit, including:
- Wait times
- Office environment
- Staff friendliness
By reading patient reviews, you can see whether other patients have developed trust with the doctor, which is key when it comes to mental health.
The doctor that you choose should have an overall positive rating and several customer testimonials describing the quality of the provider’s services.
Remember to check with your insurance provider about which psychiatrists participate in your plan.
Credentials, experience, and reviews are important too, but ultimately the psychiatrist you choose should be one that is accessible through your provider unless you are willing to spend more for your appointment.
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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.