7 Mental Health Services To Drop Kick Mental Illness In The Face

mental health services therapy session caricature
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According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five adults in the U.S. live with a mental illness or disorder of some kind, leading to stress, anxiety, and depression of epic proportions.

These symptoms suck, to say the least. They make you feel like nothing is ever going to be okay again. And they can affect anyone, from Happy-go-lucky Holly to Nervous Nancy.

So, it pays to know what kind of mental health services are available to you when mindfulness and self-care practices fall short of their goals.

In this article, we’ll cover seven mental health services that offer treatment for emotional and psychological conditions. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Psychiatric care (from a medical doctor or psychiatric nurse)
  • Psychotherapy (individual)
  • General counseling (individual or group)
  • Addiction counseling (drugs and alcohol)
  • Suicide prevention

People struggling with mental illness should consult their medical professionals before making any decisions about mental health services available to them.

What Are Mental Health Services?

Mental health services are the professionals you call when it’s time to address your emotional and mental concerns. They treat anxiety, depression, stress management, OCD, addiction, and other such issues.

Even if they don’t provide you with counseling or therapy of their own (in which case they still might be able to point you in the right direction), mental health providers should be able to inform you of all the options available to kick your mental afflictions in the butt.

It’s important to note that many offices and professionals will not openly advertise their services as “therapy,” even if that’s exactly what they provide. Instead, they will claim to offer “counseling” or something similar.

Access to Mental Health Services

Access to most mental health services depends on where you live. Moreover, your insurance coverage can alter the list of mental health providers available to you near and far, as well as the quality of care you’ll receive.

That said, you should know what kind of mental health services are best for your specific needs and where to start looking for mental health providers who can help you karate-chop stress, anxiety, depression, and other sucky symptoms in the face.

(Fair warning: I may impart one more karate-related metaphor before concluding this article.)

Who Are Mental Health Providers?

Mental health providers are licensed professionals who can diagnose mental conditions and offer medically assisted programs to treat mental illness (with or without the use of prescription medication).

Many mental health providers have a master’s degree, advanced education in physical and mental health, hands-on training, and other credentials to properly diagnose mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and chronic depression.

It’s important to choose the right mental health services from an accredited professional before starting treatment.

therapist sitting with patient

Different Types of Mental Health Providers

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), mental health professionals include:

  • Psychiatrists (who are medical doctors).
  • Psychologists (who have a doctoral degree or a doctorate in psychology).
  • Psychiatric nurses (who specialize in mental health conditions).
  • Licensed clinical social workers (who have a master’s degree and can provide mental health services).
  • Licensed professional counselors, including board-approved therapists.

Note that some therapists may specialize in specific mental health conditions, such as addiction counseling, while others may provide general mental health services.

Differences Between A Variety of Mental Health Providers

As if struggling with poor mental health conditions weren’t enough, you also have to know what each of the above mental health providers brings to the table based on your specific needs.

Let’s start with the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist.

Psychiatrists (M.D., D.O.) are medical doctors who can prescribe medication to treat mental illnesses. They often work with psychologists to provide therapy and mental health services to their patients (as part of mental health treatment).

By contrast, psychologists (Ph.D., Psy.D., Ed.D) don’t get to scribble down the oft convoluted names of drugs on a prescription pad. Not that this makes them any less valuable. On the contrary, psychologists provide well-structured mental health services in the form of therapy, assessment, and occasionally through teaching.

Both typically work one-on-one with their patients, but psychologists are known to take on larger groups of people at the same time (i.e., group counseling or group therapy).

Psychiatric nurses (P.M.HN), on the other hand, are mental health providers who offer mental health services to patients of all ages, including children and adolescents. But they have an edge with adult patients due to their extensive experience caring for this age group over others.

Psychiatric nurses should have a master’s in psychiatric-mental health nursing, so be sure to ask about this in case you’re an elderly person looking for specialized mental health services. Depending on the U.S. state, advanced psychiatric nurses with a valid license may also prescribe medication.

Lastly, licensed clinical social workers (L.C.S.W.) and licensed professional counselors (L.P.C.) aren’t able to prescribe medication or admit patients into mental health facilities. However, they can offer mental health services that vary from assessments and diagnosis to therapy and counseling.

Licensed social workers and other professional counselors, including therapists, are popular among patients who are looking for mental health services in a judgment-free environment. In some cases, therapists go beyond the traditional medical model by sustaining long-term relationships with the patients or clients based on mutual trust, respect, and confidentiality.

mental health services group counseling session

7 Mental Health Services to Cope With Mental Illness

Mental health services are available for people from all walks of life who suffer from mental illness, disorders, and other afflictions, such as substance abuse and addiction.

Keep in mind that some mental illnesses are more serious than others. As with any ailment, mental illness is best treated by a licensed medical provider.

Currently, mental health counseling is one of the most common treatment methods in the U.S. Counseling methods vary depending on what mental health service you seek out for treatment.

1) Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based form of counseling that helps you understand how negative thoughts impact your feelings and behaviors, thereby increasing your stress, anxiety, and depression. Then, CBT helps you chip away at those negative thought patterns with a step-by-step approach. For example, a therapist using CBT may ask a patient to prepare a list of pleasant activities that can help them control their moods and to practice the same during stressful times.

2) Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of counseling that uses mindfulness and acceptance to teach you how to accept difficult situations, emotions, and behaviors that are out of your control. Plus, it teaches you new ways of coping with them. For people who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder, for instance, DBT can help them manage anger and impulsivity in positive ways.

3) Psychiatric Care

Psychiatric care can vary depending on the mental health service you choose. Psychiatric services include diagnostic assessments, medication management (a psychiatrist is your best bet here), and therapy to help you understand the root cause of your emotional distress.

4) Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, otherwise known as talk therapy, can also vary depending on the mental health provider you choose, such as a medical doctor (M.D.) or a licensed psychiatric nurse (P.M.HN). The latter will likely fall under category three (psychiatric care) and may not be able to prescribe medication (this depends on the U.S. state and license status). A psychiatrist, on the other hand, will likely fall under category one (cognitive-behavioral therapy) and can prescribe pills as part of a medically assisted program.

5) Group Counseling

Group counseling can help you connect with others who are dealing with similar mental health conditions or life challenges. You may be able to find group therapy sessions through your local hospital, your doctor or psychiatrist, mental health clinics, and community centers.

6) Addiction Counseling

Many people often turn to substance abuse counselors lest their addictions lead down a dark alley filled with empty bottles of vodka and an ambulance waiting patiently at the end. Many government programs sponsor free or low-cost addiction counseling services, including state-funded drug and alcohol rehab centers near you.

7) Suicide Prevention

According to the CDC, suicide is one of the leading causes of death in people between 10 and 49 years old. If you’re feeling depressed, hopeless, or like you want to end your life, it’s important not to struggle with this alone. Talk to someone about what you feel at the moment (a friend, family member, or mental health professional). You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or reach out to a crisis center near you.

Finally, for more ways to improve your mental health and uppercut mental illness on the chin (there goes the last of my karate metaphors!), check out our irreverent collection of wellness tips and tricks in the QWERTYdelight Archives.

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