When you start thinking about seeking professional treatment for your mental or behavioral health, it can seem overwhelming. Where do you start? Who should you call? What should you expect?
The answer depends on one important factor: whether you or your loved one is in immediate danger. If so, under any circumstance (physical or mental), call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
For less immediate situations where you feel your mental health is not where you’d like it to be – including feelings of depression, lack of motivation or difficulty finding joy in things you used to – the first step is to contact your primary care provider.
What to Expect During Your Primary Care Visit
During your appointment, your provider will ask about:
- Any symptoms you have, and how long they’ve been going on.
- How your symptoms have been affecting your life and relationships.
- Whether you can function at the level you’d like, including completing daily tasks.
They may also ask you to complete some mental health screenings to better understand your needs.
Know Your Options
Together with your primary care provider, you can discuss possible treatment plans – ones you are comfortable pursuing.
- If your provider recommends you see a mental health specialist, they will refer you to someone who specializes in your conditions. Other options, depending on your preferences and symptoms, also include inpatient treatments, intensive outpatient programs or community-based organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Medication also is an option for some individuals. Your provider will talk through what may help, what to expect and answer any questions.
Starting with your primary care provider means you can have conversations with someone you know and trust who can support you throughout your journey.
“When someone is experiencing a mental health concern, and certainly if we’ve initiated a treatment or have decided to monitor things, then I would expect to see them back more frequently for a period of time until they are feeling better,” said Anne Gaglioti, MD. “Often, if I refer someone out for a behavioral health service, there can be a waiting period before people are able to get an appointment, so I certainly will see people regularly if they are having something that’s impacting their lives.”
At MetroHealth, we are here to meet people where they are and support them so they can live their best lives. That starts with developing personal relationships with our patients as primary care providers.
To schedule an appointment with a primary care provider, call 216-MY-METRO (216-696-3876) or visit metrohealth.org/appointments. For more information, see How to get started with behavioral health care.