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Where to Seek Professional Mental Health Support

Everyone feels anxious or sad sometimes, but it’s important to be able to recognize when your feelings become overwhelming and more than a temporary experience so you can get the appropriate support when you need it.

According to the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) curriculum, professional help should be considered when mental health symptoms last for weeks and affect a person’s functioning in daily life. If you or someone you know is impacted by symptoms of mental health challenges, consider getting additional support. It can make a real difference for your mental health and well-being.

If you or someone you know is ready to seek professional help, consider these options from the MHFA curriculum.

  1. Call your primary care physician. For many people who may be developing a mental health illness, the primary care physician may be the first professional they turn to for help. Your primary care doctor can recognize developing symptoms and work with you to find the right treatment.
  2. Contact a mental health professional. You can look for a mental health professional by asking your primary care physician for a recommendation, asking friends or family members, or even looking up a therapist in your area online. These professionals include clinical social workers, psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychologists and licensed counselors. They’ll work with you to better understand your symptoms and ways to cope.
  3. Find a certified peer specialist. Certified peer specialists are often on the road to recovery and use their experiences to help others. They receive training that helps them use their experiences to promote hope, personal responsibility, empowerment, education and self-determination. You can find a certified peer specialist around you by talking to your primary care physician or searching online.
  4. Reach out to a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in treating mental health illnesses and often work in private practice, mental health centers, or in hospitals. They can help you find the right treatment and medication. Consider searching online or talking to your primary care physician to find someone in your area.

If you’re still feeling uncertain about reaching out for professional help, read these articles for other resources and coping mechanisms that may help you on your journey to recovery.

  1. Where to Get Help: Effective Treatments for Depression
  2. Three Ways to Get Mental Health Help Anonymously
  3. Five Mental Health Resources That Can #BeTheDifference
  4. How to Care for Yourself While Practicing Physical Distancing

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