I know something is wrong with me, I know I need help but I don’t know where to start. Do I call my family doctor to get a referral for somewhere? Do I call a therapist directly? What do I do?

A. Your question about where to start the process of receiving psychological help, is a good one. I’m sure there are many people who have the same question.

There are a couple of places to start. You could visit your family doctor and ask for a referral. Another approach is to call your insurance company and ask for a referral. Some people have found it useful to call their local health department and ask what mental health services are available in their communities. If you do not have health insurance, then call the local community mental health center and ask what services are available to you.

You may want to consult Psych Central’s “find help” tab that provides an extensive list of mental health professionals. You can search for therapists by city, zip code, and so on. Psychology Today also has a similar therapist directory.

It’s best to choose four or five therapists to interview over the phone. Detail the problem that you would like help with. Ask if they’ve helped other people with similar problems and inquire about the outcomes of those cases. Ask if they think they can help you and what method they would use to do so. Choose a therapist with whom you connect with or with whom you feel the most comfortable and then visit this therapist in person. Continue that process until you find a therapist with whom you like and feel the most comfortable. I admire your willingness to seek help. I hope you’re able to find the help that you desire. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog