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How to find the best mental health provider

Posted at 6:20 PM, Jun 08, 2020

Rallies, riots, Coronavirus, economic fears, job insecurity or loss - a lot is going on in the world right now that may be causing you or a loved one a tremendous amount of stress. That stress may be impacting your emotional well being, and putting your mental health at risk.

"It's important to prioritize your mental health equal to your physical health, so it may be time to think about getting professional help," said Dr. Jim Polo, behavioral health medical director for Regence BlueCross BlueShield.

Polo said opening up can help remove the stigma that surrounds mental health. "Remember, getting professional help is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it's a sign of strength. It means you've identified the problem and you're willing to get help to make it better."

But once you decide to get help, then what?

"Getting professional help with a behavioral health provider is a little bit like dating," said Polo. "You may need to look around until you find the right fit."

When finding a provider, you want to seek out someone with the skills to handle your particular issue. You should also make sure you are comfortable, as mental health can be very personal and relies on trust between yourself and the provider.

Polo said there are many different types of behavioral health providers, like counselors and therapists. Their role is to, "Help you with how you are thinking and feeling about a situation, and also maybe sometimes with some of your behavior in relationship to that situation."

Psychologists, on the other hand, may dig a little deeper.

"In addition to helping you with how you're feeling and thinking about the situation, they're probably going to think about helping you with how you're feeling about yourself," said Polo.

Psychiatrists are another good option, especially if medication is necessary for treatment.

Dr. Polo suggests seeking referrals from friends or trusted sources, talking to your primary care doctor, or reaching out to your health plan, who can advise you on providers in our area that are in your network.

Dr. Polo says it's important to remember that one size doesn't fit all when it comes to your mental health.