Thank you for the detailed letter. It helps to give me an idea of the struggles you face on a daily basis. All of the issues that you wrote about, hearing voices, paranoia, mood swings, confusing language, and so forth, are all symptoms that definitely need to be assessed by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional. Your instincts to seek help are very accurate and perceptive. I am glad that you and your boyfriend recognize the need to seek treatment. Please do not put off going to seek help.
If you have your own health insurance, you can usually find a phone number listed on the back of the card that is labeled something like “mental health problems,” followed by an 800 number. When you find this number, call your insurance company and speak to them about which doctors you are authorized to see within your health care plan (i.e. inquire if you have to see certain doctors or can you see anyone you want), ask how to make an appointment, how many sessions and medication sessions your insurance company will pay for either with a therapist or a doctor, and finally, ask how much your co-pay will be for each visit. The information that you garner from this phone call should help get you started.
If you have health insurance under your parents’ plan and you want to seek help but do not want your parents to know, this will be difficult because in all likelihood, your parents will be sent a statement from your insurance company after your visit. I hope this does not discourage you from seeking help. You mentioned that you believe your parents would upset or disappointed. I do not know what your relationship with your parents is like but they would probably be more upset if they knew that you felt it was necessary to hide the everyday mental pain and suffering from them just because you did not want to upset them. It would probably be more unsettling for them to find out that their daughter suffered just to protect them. It is not your job to protect them; it’s their job to protect and help you. Consider talking to them about your situation before you seek help and if you are not comfortable with this, it is important that you seek help anyway.
If you do not have health insurance, or mental health insurance, (which even if you have health insurance is not a guarantee that you will have mental health insurance) consider a community mental health center (CMHC). CMHCs provide services oftentimes on a sliding scale fee or sometimes, if you qualify, free of cost. Lastly, if you attend college, you can also be evaluated by their university counseling center. Most university counseling centers have on-staff psychiatrists, along with social workers, and psychologists, and other mental health workers. These services are typically free of cost to registered students and their services are usually exemplary. I hope this answer helps you. Take care and be sure not to put off attending to your own health.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on Sep 3, 2017.