How to book a psychiatrist appointment
Seeing a psychiatrist to manage your medications can be an important part of a mental health treatment plan. But it can be hard to know how or when to book an appointment with a psychiatrist. Here’s what you need to know about the process.
What can a psychiatrist do?
Some psychiatrists specialize in medication management. Others handle more comprehensive care, including:
- Diagnosing mental health conditions
- Prescribing and managing medication
- Providing therapy
If you can, decide which one you need early on. It’ll make it easier for you to find a psychiatrist that’s a good fit for you.
Common issues a psychiatrist can help with:
- Managing addiction
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- Obsessive thoughts or behaviors
If you’re feeling nervous about booking your first psychiatrist appointment, you’re not alone.
How to book and prepare for your first psychiatrist appointment?
Determine your budget
Everyone deserves the mental health care they need, but it’s important to consider what you can afford to pay out-of-pocket for your services. Even if you have insurance, you’ll generally still have to pay copays for medications and appointments.
Being realistic about your budget can help inform your decisions about what psychiatrist to see and what medications they’ll prescribe you. If you’re worried about budget, you can specifically look for a sliding-scale psychiatrist. If that’s a possibility, it’s best to identify that need early in the process.
See if you need a referral
Some insurance policies require referrals to see a specialist like a psychiatrist. Talk to your primary care doctor or therapist (if you're seeing one). They can put in a referral with your insurance or offer suggestions about psychiatrists they know and trust. This can help narrow your search and help you find a psychiatrist who’s already been vetted.
Contact the psychiatrist and request an appointment
If you’re not already sure the psychiatrist you want to see is covered under your insurance, confirm that now. You want to make sure you won’t get saddled with unexpected costs after your first appointment. Confirm this by checking your insurance benefits or confirming with the psychiatrist’s office that they accept your insurance. Don’t be shy about asking; the psychiatrist’s office should be used to answering questions about insurance and billing.
Go to your first appointment
Arrive prepared for your appointment. Be ready to talk about:
- Any current symptoms you’re experiencing
- Your current treatment plan
- Whether you think your current treatment plan is working for you (and why)
- Past treatments you’ve tried, how well they worked, and any side effects you experienced on them
- Any budget considerations regarding visit copays or medication costs
- Anything else relevant to your situation or treatment plan
Seeing a psychiatrist for the first time can feel unfamiliar and a little intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be a scary process. Psychiatrists are there to help address your mental health concerns and help you feel like your best self. The biggest step is scheduling that first appointment.
Find the right mental health practitioner for you
Psychiatrists and therapists often work together to treat patients with mental health disorders. SOHOMD providers understand the complexities of mental health conditions and will develop holistic treatment plans that combine medication with talk therapy. This means that you will get the help you need from the right provider, regardless of which professional you choose to see initially.
Find a psychiatrist near you today, and get started taking care of your mental health.