I remember the first time I was in crisis. A scared, painfully shy, 20-year-old version of myself having to sign paperwork and talking with qualified strangers. Being in crisis is terrifying. There’s a fear that you can only know if you have experienced it. Not from losing one’s mind, but from being lost and the world around you spinning out of your control. Of trying in vain to make it stop.
Today I’m not here to regale tales of my journey to getting well again, I want to talk to you about how to seek help before things get unmanageable. How to seek help before you have a crisis.
So I’ve been enmeshed in the US’s mental health system for some time now. And I have to say I’ve accumulated a ton of useful information. And though there’s plenty of paths to get your mental health to a more robust state here are three routes that may be the quickest path to helping you out.
TALK TO YOUR PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR. As your primary care physician, they have access to your insurance information and can refer you out to getting care under your insurance where applicable. If you have trouble talking to your GP I have an article all about that. Also if you live in The UK this may be the only route, aside from emergency services, that would be applicable under the NHS. If I were to rate this method it gets an 8 out of 10 for accessibility. Almost everyone has access to a general practitioner doctor.
SEE A THERAPIST. This is good at giving you a mental health assessment and can open you up to getting help if you aren’t comfortable talking with your GP and/or don’t want to be medicated. I would rather this method as a 5 out of 10 because it’s not comprehensive and your experience really depends on the therapist. Not to mention, not everyone can afford individual therapy. NOTE: Not all therapists can prescribe you medications. Depending on the therapist or mental health clinic they could refer you to getting on medication if you both agree it would be beneficial.
GO TO A MENTAL HEALTH CLINIC. Much like dental clinics and medical clinics, there are organizations that are focused on a person’s mental health. They offer group therapy, medication, and psychotherapy. They may be a pricier option in some states and in some places or they may not take your insurance, but they will not deny you services if your insurance won’t foot the bill. Also many have payment plans if you are low income. if I were to give this a rating I would rate this route as a 9 out of 10. They have several options for people of varying incomes, and several ways to help including medication and group and individual therapy. NOTE: if you live in a rural area this might not be an option because of the distance from your hometown.
SIDE NOTE: While trying to understand how the NHS works when it comes to mental health I noticed a few key differences from the way things are operated in the US. Charitable organizations mostly run the help lines for mental health services and many of the people I talked to mentioned that their doctors weren’t as prone to helping them with their mental health unless they were exhibiting more severe symptoms though it is different from area to area. Most of the people I talked to rated their experience as a 6 out of 10. If you live in the UK and you had a different experience feel free to comment down below.
If you are experiencing a crisis or mental health emergency know that there is help available.