How to Look For Mental Health Services in the Private Sector

by Susan de Navarrete

The first rule of thumb is never look for services when in crisis. 

Most private practices are not set up to see clients on a moment’s notice.  That is the role of either an emergency room at a hospital or a community mental health clinic.  Become stabilized, then seek ongoing services at a private practice like Crossbridge Counseling.

Making the first call.

Things to discuss:

  • What are hours of service?
  • Where is the practice located?
  • Is health insurance an option for payment?
  • Is a sliding scale available? How could that benefit me?
  • What type of therapist are you looking for? (Help with addiction, depression, anxiety, family issues/relational issues or other mental health related conditions?)
  • Does the practice have access to a psychiatrist for medication if needed?
  • Any other concerns you may have of a personal nature?

One call at a time

It is not helpful to call several places at the same time.  For one thing this can cause confusion for you in trying to remember everyone you called when someone calls you back. 

Typically, you will not get a person on the other end initially.  There is usually an answering machine.  It is helpful to leave a message letting the practice know when is a good day and time to call you back.  This will ensure a timely response so that if you are not happy with the interaction or what is offered, you can then move on to the next organization you have identified as a potential service.

Where to look for these services:

There are several websites that can be of assistance.  You can always initially use Google to get a listing which should then direct you to individual websites that can service you. 

You may want to look through several websites before making any initial calls.  Websites usually offer substantial information about the therapists and services available.  

This can also help to develop other questions you have that you didn’t consider initially.  This way when you make the first call, you are better equipped to explore your options. 

Keep in mind there are lots of options. As long as you can explore without the worry of time constraints, your therapeutic experience will be a positive one which is what you were looking for in the first place.  Happy hunting!