When you first begin seeking treatment or when you switch healthcare providers, learning about the symptoms you’re experiencing is one of the first things you’ll do together. Talking about your mental health can be challenging, but it’s important and can help you get the right treatment plan to treat your mental illness.
Follow these tips to communicate clearly with your doctor about your mental health.
Bring a list of the symptoms you’re experiencing.
It’s normal to feel nervous at a doctor’s appointment. You might feel pressured and limited on time. Having a list of your emotional and physical symptoms can help you remember what you want to talk about.
Let your doctor know what treatments have worked in the past.
If you’re seeing a new doctor or switching healthcare providers, you can tell them about treatment that has worked in the past. Whether it’s talk therapy, medication, or support groups, they’ll be happy to know what has worked for you - and what hasn’t - so they can continue your treatment.
Explain why addressing your mental health is important to you.
You can speak with your doctor about how your mental health is impacting your life. Maybe it has put a strain on your friends or family members. It may even impact your performance at work. It could be something as simple as saying, “I don’t feel like myself.” All of these are important reasons to seek treatment.
Write out your questions before your appointment.
You might have questions about a specific mental health diagnosis. You might be curious about finding a therapist or joining a support group. These are all questions your doctor can answer for you.
Your doctor can also refer you to a mental health professional like a psychologist to answer specific questions about mental health conditions. Have your questions on-hand so you can be sure to cover everything on your mind.
Remember, it’s okay to disagree.
If your doctor is recommending a treatment you’re uncomfortable with, it’s okay to ask for a second opinion. You can also ask them to explain why they are recommending a specific treatment. Learning more about it can help if you’re feeling anxious about trying something new.
Ask to speak with an expert.
Your doctor can give you a referral for therapy and recommend counseling centers that are nearby and take your insurance. You can schedule an appointment with a therapist who will be able to assess your symptoms and get you on the road to a diagnosis and treatment.
When you’re ready to make an appointment for your mental health, you can start with your doctor or you can contact a counseling center. Everyone’s path to good mental health is unique. The most important thing to remember is that it’s okay to need help to feel better. Just like a physical illness, healing is possible.