Mental health is an important part of overall wellbeing, and there are a variety of services available to help people manage their mental health. Psychiatrists, nurses, primary care doctors, family nurse practitioners, and clinical social workers are all qualified to provide mental health services. These professionals can diagnose and treat mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders, bipolar affective disorder, and depression. They can also provide residential treatment programs and long-term care facilities for those with more serious mental health issues.
In this article, we will explore the different types of mental health services available and what to look for when seeking help.
Psychiatristsare licensed doctors who have completed specialized training in psychiatry. They can diagnose mental health conditions, prescribe and monitor medications, and provide therapy. Some psychiatrists have additional training in child and adolescent mental health, substance use disorders, or geriatric psychiatry.
In some states, they are also qualified to prescribe and monitor medications. The requirements for supervision by a licensed psychiatrist vary from state to state.
Nursesspecializing in psychiatry or mental health can provide evaluations, diagnoses, and therapies for mental health conditions or substance use disorders. Primary care doctors and pediatricians can also prescribe medications, but it is often beneficial to visit someone who specializes in mental health care. Primary care and mental health professionals must work together to determine the best treatment plan for each person.
Family Nurse Practitioners (FNPs)can provide general medical services such as those of a primary care doctor, depending on the laws of each state.
Like primary care doctors, they can prescribe medications, but it is often beneficial to visit someone who specializes in mental health care. Family nurses and mental health professionals must work together to determine the best treatment plan for each person.
Anxiety Disordersare a group of mental health disorders that include generalized anxiety disorders, social phobias, specific phobias (for example, agoraphobia and claustrophobia), panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder. If left untreated, anxiety disorders can cause significant deterioration in people's daily lives.
Bipolar Affective Disorderis a type of mood disorder, formerly called “manic depression”. A person with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of mania (euphoria) and depression.
The exact cause is unknown but a genetic predisposition has been clearly established. Environmental stressors can also trigger episodes of this mental illness.
Depressionis a mood disorder characterized by decreased mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, and reduced energy. It's not just about feeling sad; there are different types and symptoms of depression with different levels of severity. Symptoms of depression may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior.
Residential Psychiatric Centersoffer a homey environment and a strong sense of community that help residents build self-esteem, develop relationships, and improve life skills.
In residential clinical treatment programs, doctors can see the full picture of a resident's functioning and use that perspective and knowledge to improve psychiatric therapy.
Clinical Social Workersare trained to assess a person's mental health and use therapeutic techniques based on specific training programs. In this type of mental health treatment community, residents live in individual or shared apartments while participating in a program of therapeutic activities, supportive relationships, and psychiatric treatment.
Long-Term Mental Health Care Facilitiesrange from apartment-based communities in urban settings to group homes on farms. As a result, many mental health disorders can now be treated almost as successfully as physical disorders. Most studies suggest that for serious mental health disorders a treatment approach that includes both drugs and psychotherapy is more effective than any of the treatment methods used separately.
Working with one of these mental health professionals can lead not only to reduced symptoms but also to better ways of thinking, feeling and living. If you are considering seeking help for your mental health needs it is important to do your research first. Contact individual centers if you have questions about the particular mental health services they offer or what credentials to expect from a mental health professional. The relationship between stress and mental illness is complex but it is known that stress can worsen an episode of mental illness.