With the pandemic raging on and showing no signs of abating, many of us who are in prolonged lockdown while miles away from loved ones are starting to see a decline in our mental health. Be it to heal from a broken relationship, overcome past trauma, adapt to a new season in life, or simply to keep your thoughts in check, finding the right mental health therapist is a necessary first step. Research has shown that psychotherapy is effective in reducing the overall burden on the healthcare system and reaps long-term health benefits, rather than relying on the overuse of medications.
However, there is still a certain societal stigma associated with mental health disorders. Hence, it might be a struggle to find reliable sources when searching for a counselor that suits your lifestyle needs & budget. Here are 5 ways to use tech in your search for Dr. Right.
Search for Reliable Online Databases Targeted Towards Mental Health
Most, if not all, mental health organizations have some sort of resource directory available on their website. Do ensure they’re up-to-date, located within your geographical vicinity and officially accredited by reputable authorities in the field of mental health.
If there’s a specific area of concern you’re looking at, search for counselors with specific niches such as family, substance abuse, or sexual trauma, just to name a few. Read through their bios to understand their experience in treating past patients with similar issues as yourself. It can provide valuable insight into their methodologies and even underlying philosophies of their treatment process.
Ask Someone Trustworthy In Your Social Circle
It can be a long-lost acquaintance, a close confidante, a casual colleague at work, even a social media influencer whom you look up to. Try seeking a referral or check if they’ve shared similar mental health resources before on their social media platforms. While a good place to start, it is imperative to note that everyone has different “skeletons in the closet”, so to speak, hence the therapy method they’ve engaged may not necessarily be a similarly good fit for you. Nevertheless, it’s a good way to get some reliable contacts.
If it is a condition you’ll rather keep private, do reach out to local organizations who specialize in the field of mental health & wellness. Some notable bodies include National Institute of Mental Health, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Check Their Credentials With Their Respective Practices
What’s the difference between independent practices and those who serve in public hospitals? Certainly, opting for public practice is a lot more wallet-friendly. However, they may not have as vast an amount of resources and tech as those in private practice, such as RFID automated inventory for managing classified patient information, smartphone application integration for journaling, and sensory data mining of vital stats.
Do consider other psychographic factors too, such as age, gender, and religion to find the combination that resonates with you. Alternatively, it is perfectly fine too if you do not have any preferences in this department.
Understand the Role of Tech In The Treatment Process
As mentioned, hospitals with access to more sophisticated technology use RFID tags to identify patients and allow staff access to medical records without violating patient privacy.
Similarly, RFID wristbands provide a dignified way for care professionals to monitor vulnerable psychiatric patients in boarded care facilities. When patients attempt to take flight, radio sensors will trigger and shut emergency doors, preventing escape. Only certified professionals such as nurses or security guards will be able to reset the system.
If you recognize yourself as an at-risk patient, such advances in technology help you to narrow down your choice of mental health care providers.
Plan Your Goals Ahead Of The First Session
What do you wish to accomplish through engaging in therapy? Are there specific medications you are keen to try? We encourage looking for practitioners who are qualified to dispense prescriptions. If there are specific therapy methodologies such as cognitive behavioral therapy or psychodynamic therapies, find practitioners who have obtained specialist certifications in these approaches.
It is perfectly normal for your goals to evolve as you progress in sessions with your therapist. Keep communication open and let your therapist advise on the best course of action based on their medical expertise.
Life is full of ups and downs, and we all need a little bit of help along the way to achieve our goals. The journey to finding the right therapist may be daunting, but it is all about finding that human connection that allows us to show our most vulnerable selves. Be kind to yourself and seek the treatment you need to get better!