The idea of finding a new psychiatrist, especially for the first time, can be daunting. There are so many factors at play: Do they take your insurance? Will you mesh well together? Will their availability fit into your schedule? Whether you’re looking for a psychiatrist in Charlotte NC or Boise, ID, the process doesn’t have to be intimidating. Here are eight ways to find a psychiatrist and get the help you need:
- Ask your primary care doctor for a referral. Your primary care doctor can be a great place to start. They’re likely familiar with local psychiatrists and may be able to refer you to one who is well-suited to meet your needs.
- Check insurance provider directories or websites. Many insurance providers have searchable online directories of mental health providers. Searching your provider’s site can also ensure you find someone in-network.
- Ask friends, family members, or others in your support system for recommendations. People who have had positive experiences with psychiatrists are often happy to share their providers’ information.
- Use online search engines. Online search engines like Google can provide contact information for potential providers in your area. Search engines often include reviews that can help inform your decision.
- Ask other mental health professionals—such as social workers, psychologists, or counselors. Often, these professionals can connect you with a good fit and provide referrals, if needed. If you’re already seeing a therapist, chances are they have a trusted psychiatrist (or several) in mind.
- Contact local hospitals or medical centers. Hospitals and medical centers usually employ psychiatrists. Calling around may lead you to an appropriate provider near you.
- Check online directories such as Psychology Today or Zocdoc for professionals in your area. These sites provide listings of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, complete with contact information and credentials. Some sites even let you drill down by specialty or search for specific issues.
- Reach out to support groups specific to the issue you are facing. Organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness can provide referrals in addition resources and a supportive environment to help you feel validated and understood.
Reaching out to a new psychiatrist
Once you have the names of a few psychiatrists, call or email to ask about availability and accepted payment methods. Some psychiatrists offer a consultation session at no cost, so you can get to know them and decide if they are right for you before committing to regular appointments.
Remember, it is important to find a mental health professional who meets your individual needs and with whom you feel comfortable. This is an important journey. It’s okay to take the time you need, ask questions, and keep searching until you find someone who can make a positive difference in your life.