Mental Health

Not Sure About Getting Help?

"It's hard to schedule and find time for an appointment."

Plan your appointments for times that work for you. Therapists, clinics, and hospitals may offer after-hours appointments or weekend hours. When you call for an appointment, explain your situation. Most mental health care professionals will try to find a time that works for both of you.

You may have to wait for an appointment if your symptoms aren't too severe, but it's worth the wait.

"I can't get there."

Ask a friend to help you get there, or check local bus schedules.

"See a shrink? I'm not crazy."
"People will think I'm weak."
"What will my family and friends think?"

You are looking for help so you will feel better. It takes strength and courage to seek help from others.

Mental health problems are real and can harm your physical health. They are often caused by an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain. They also may run in families. Mental health problems are not character flaws.

You can get better with the right kind of treatment. Treatment includes medicine, counseling, psychotherapy (therapy), self-care, or a combination of these. The kind of treatment you have will depend on how severe your symptoms are.

"Someone might get into my medical records and see this."

Doctors, mental health care professionals, hospitals, and clinics take privacy seriously. They will not share your records with anyone not involved in your treatment. If you have questions about your privacy, ask them about it when calling for an appointment.

"I've tried to talk to people. They just don't get it and don't care."

It may be hard for some people to understand or relate to your experiences. But other people can understand. Consider finding people who have had similar experiences.

"I can't afford it."

Many towns and cities have resources that may help. Call your local social services department or welfare office to find out.

If you have insurance, check your policy. Mental health benefits often are covered through a separate company.

Check to see if your state has a mental health parity law. Your employer may be required to provide mental health insurance.

Look into the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). You may be able to use it to take time off for doctor visits.

Ask your doctor for help. He or she may be able to find free or low-cost medicine, counseling, or therapy.

See the sidebar for sliding scale counseling services.

Check Medicaid if you have a low income, or Medicare, if you are 65 or older. These programs may be able to help you.