6 Things You Should Consider Before Choosing a Provider or Mental Health Clinic

Choosing Mental Health Provider
A patient is interviewing a mental health provider to see if he is a good fit for her.

Top tips to help you find the best mental health doctor for you.

Albert Hernandez

September 9, 2022
 Medically Reviewed by Tanya Hernandez, PMHNP-BC
Updated on: October 20, 2022
  6 min read

September 9, 2022
 Medically Reviewed by Tanya Hernandez, PMHNP-BC
Updated on: October 20, 2022
  6 min read


Whether you have been diagnosed with a behavioral health disorder like anxiety, or you suspect that you have a condition that needs to be treated, how can you choose the right doctor for your treatment? Should you check with your friends for their recommendations? Maybe ask your primary care doctor for a referral to a mental health clinic? Or could it be as easy as typing “Best mental health treatment in El Paso” or wherever your location may be into your search bar?

While advice from your friends, input from your primary care doctor, and an Internet search are all reasonable places to start, once you have the name of a recommended mental health provider, it’s still smart to do some checking of your own. When you are trying to find the right doctor to treat your mental health condition, here are some things to be looking out for. If you take the time to consider how your potential mental health provider stacks up against this list, you will be more likely to choose the right doctor for you.

1. Check out the reviews

But be thoughtful as you read through these reviews. When searching for a provider to treat your mental health condition, you of course want to see if they have good reviews. However, you also want to see how they respond to negative reviews if they exist. Does the practice provide bad service, or were they unable to accommodate the reviewer? There are sometimes patients who are unhappy with a doctor, but the services desired aren’t healthy, legal, or available. In the case of a bad review, did the provider have a generic “contact management” answer or did they take their time to craft a thoughtful response?

2. Know who you will actually be seeing

If you’re wondering how to find a good doctor, remember that you’re looking for a professional that you can trust with your health and wellness. It’s hard to start to feel this trust if you don’t have an understanding of the person you will be seeing. On the website of the practice you’re looking into, do they have a list of providers and their biographies? Will you be seeing someone that is a partner in the practice or a part-time provider? Many patients feel more comfortable if they are able to see the same provider for most visits.

If a practice has mostly part-time or as-needed practitioners, you might be seeing a different provider more often than not.

A revolving door of mental health doctors can make it challenging for you to form a relationship and establish trust during your visits.

Knowing who the providers in the practice are will also help you to determine if their professional qualifications are all in order. It’s important to make sure that your provider is licensed to prescribe in your state. For the provider you’re looking into, make sure you are able to easily locate their professional license in the state you are seeking services. When looking into their licensing, you should also check to see if they have disciplinary actions against them. You deserve to see a provider with a clean record.

3. Find out if they are able to see you in a timely manner

Does the practice you’re considering have a waitlist? If so, when can they see you? Once you’ve decided to get treatment for your anxiety, depression, or ADHD, you’ll probably want to be able to get in to see a provider as quickly as possible. If the waitlist for the mental health provider that you’re feeling good about is long, that’s not necessarily a reason not to go there. Good clinics will be able to guide you through the process and give you informed answers. If you are receiving communication and information from a clinic as you wait, this is a sign that they will communicate respectfully and helpfully once you’re an active patient, too.

4. Explore what type of provider will be treating you

Will you be seeing a physician, nurse practitioner (NP), physician assistant (PA), or prescribing psychologist? Although all these options may be good, training and supervision vary by prescriber. Choosing the right doctor or other mental health professional for you can be based on their experience, their training, and what type of professional you like to work with. Some studies have indicated that patients may have improved patient satisfaction when patients are treated by a psychiatric NP versus a medical doctor, for example.

 Patients should interview their potential provider.

Getting to know the background of the prescriber you intend to work with will help you choose the right mental health provider for you.

5. See if the communication style of the office is a good fit for you

When you reach out to the office for scheduling or insurance questions, are you interacting with a person over the phone? Or are you communicating electronically? Did staff answer your call quickly and act professionally? Were you on hold for a long time? While some patients may prefer electronic communication rather than talking on the phone, almost no one likes confusing automated phone menus and long hold times! Usually, your first interaction will set the tone for the remainder of your experience, so check with your gut to see if you got a good feeling from that interaction. 

6. Determine if the office’s staff is sufficient to assist you with all of your needs

Some mental health providers have a solo practice, some operate in a practice with a few other providers, and some prescribers are part of a large health system. If the mental health provider you want to see operates a private practice, ensure that they have sufficient office staff to answer your questions and assist you with any paperwork you may need to have completed.

Do they have a good billing team to make sure your copays are correct?

If you’re filling out paperwork by yourself to get reimbursed by your insurance company, this might indicate the office doesn’t have all the needed support staff in place.

Finding the right doctor to treat your behavioral health condition can take some digging. It will be worth it to know you’re dealing with a mental health professional that you can trust, and one who has the staff to help you get your medication as seamlessly as possible. If you live in or near El Paso, TX or one of the other cities we serve, Upper Valley Behavioral Health would be honored to be your trusted behavioral health provider. Click here to complete our application for service today.

Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. It does not replace instructions from your licensed prescriber. Please consult your healthcare provider for guidance on your specific medication regimen.

Tags: mental health

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