How to find a telepsychiatrist
Remote therapy and telepsychiatry have quickly become more prevalent for handling counseling, mental health, medications, and overall emotional wellness. Telepsychiatry is convenient, affordable, and makes mental health care more accessible. Here’s how to know if telepsychiatry is right for you – and how to find the best provider for your situation.
Who is telepsychiatry right for?
Mounting evidence shows that telepsychiatry can be an effective form of therapy as it becomes more widely available. This is especially true for people who put off seeing a psychiatrist out of fear or nervousness. Telepsychiatry is also valuable for people who struggle to access psychiatry in their immediate area or who are unable to make it to regular in-person appointments.
The most common reasons to see a telepsychiatrist:
- Managing addiction
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- Obsessive thoughts or behaviors
If you want to find a telepsychiatrist but aren’t sure where to start, here’s how we recommend going about it:
Determine your needs
Before you start looking for a telepsychiatrist, reflect on your situation. Identify what challenges you’re working through. Do you need a psychiatrist to evaluate you for new medications, and adjust your current medication, or do you just need to renew your prescriptions and continue the same treatment regimen?
Check your coverage and resources
If you have insurance, check your behavioral health benefits. You can usually find a contact number on the back of your insurance card.
Whether or not you have insurance, determine how much you can afford to pay out-of-pocket for telepsychiatry. This applies even if you have great insurance since you’ll still generally have to pay copays for medications and appointments. Being realistic about your budget can help prevent unwelcome surprises down the road.
Look for psychiatrists online
Lots of people start by asking friends and family for recommendations, but a quick Google search can put you in touch with psychiatrists in your area. Make sure they offer remote appointments. Check their specialties and credentials (usually available on websites where they’re listed) and make sure they accept your insurance.
Meet with your telepsychiatrist
Similar to looking for a therapist, finding a psychiatrist is partly about fit. During your first appointment, let them know your concerns and what you’d like your sessions to deal with. They may ask you questions about your mental health history, current or past medications, symptoms, etc., so be prepared to talk about your situation in-depth.
Confirm that the psychiatrist accepts your insurance and confirm their fees. It doesn’t hurt to ask if they offer sliding-scale fees, even if you have insurance or you’re not concerned about fees at the moment. You never know when you might need to take advantage of a sliding scale.
Ask what video platform they use for sessions; check that it's HIPPA-compliant, which ensures your conversations will be protected under the law as private health information.
Also, ask about communication. Can you contact them between sessions? If so, how, and what kind of response can you expect?
Finding a telepsychiatrist can seem intimidating. But the process isn’t as complicated as you might think. And for many people, it’s a vital step in their mental health journey.