9 Signs Your Mental Health Provider Has Ghosted You

Mental Health Provider Ghosting
A mental health provider turns into a ghost and leaves her patient.

If you don’t feel like your provider is as responsive and helpful as they used to be, the problem isn’t with you, it’s with them.

Albert Hernandez

September 16, 2022
 Medically Reviewed by Tanya Hernandez, PMHNP-BC
Updated on: October 20, 2022
  6 min read

September 16, 2022
 Medically Reviewed by Tanya Hernandez, PMHNP-BC
Updated on: October 20, 2022
  6 min read


Have you ever had a relationship where the other person “ghosted” you? You know, where the texts and other communication from them just stops, with no explanation? Ghosting feels confusing and weird when it happens within a friendship or in a romantic relationship, but can it happen with your mental health provider?

Unfortunately, yes. Not all relationships with your psychiatrist or other mental health provider will go the distance. Here are nine signs that your mental health provider has ghosted you (and what you can do about it!):

1.  You are a current patient but they are “booked” for months.

Even though you are an established patient, you can’t get an appointment within the doctor’s recommended return window. For example, your psychiatrist tells you to schedule your follow-up appointment in 4 weeks but then says the schedule can’t get you in for four months.

2.  The relationship you had is now stale.

Where you used to feel that your mental health provider truly listened and provided you with valuable feedback, now your appointment time seems more like it’s on “autopilot.” Your doctor doesn’t seem as actively engaged when you’re explaining your symptoms. You may also notice that they’re not checking with you to make sure your current medication dose is still working well for you.

3.  The phone rings and rings.

If you primarily contact your psychiatrist’s office via telephone, you are now noticing that no one seems to pick up when you call. You have to make several attempts to contact the office at different times of the day before you can catch a staff member.

4.  No one is getting back to you within 24 hours.

When you send an electronic message or leave a voicemail for your mental health provider, are they contacting you back within one business day? You should be able to expect a response from your provider within this time frame. Without timely communication back from your provider’s office, it might feel like you’re yelling out into the El Paso desert with no answer.

5.  Your pharmacy is trying to get a hold of your provider with no luck.

When your pharmacy needs to talk to your provider to get refill authorization or clarify the dose of a new medication, it can be frustrating when your provider doesn’t respond in a timely manner. Lack of response from your psychiatrist to your pharmacy can lead to a delay in your ability to pick up your prescription.

6.  Your prescriptions are not sent on time.

Like not responding to the pharmacy, if your mental health provider doesn’t send in your prescriptions when they say they will, you may experience delays or interruptions in your medication treatment. If your psychiatrist makes a change to your medication or tells you they will refill your medication, that prescription should be sent over on the same day as your appointment. Failure to send your prescriptions on time is not a good sign.

7.  Your appointments are frequently rescheduled at the last minute.

Emergencies can always come up, of course, but if your behavioral health provider is constantly rescheduling your appointment at the last minute, this can be very inconvenient for you. Rescheduling without proper notice might make it difficult for you to make the new appointment time work, and it indicates that your provider isn’t as respectful of your time as they should be.

8.  They don’t answer you at all.

A mental health provider is ghosting her patient by flying away.

If you called, sent electronic messages, and left voicemails without any return communication from your provider, this is considered patient abandonment. Patient abandonment is a very serious issue, and it’s a reportable offense to the board. If the provider you have seen is not answering you, please report them to the board for the state in which you are receiving treatment. If you’re a patient in New Mexico, for example, you would report the provider to the New Mexico Medical Board.

9.  Your prior authorizations for your medication are being denied or not submitted on time.

For some of your medications, your insurance might require prior authorization paperwork from your doctor’s office before they will pay for your medication. If your prior auth isn’t filled out correctly or if it’s not received in a timely manner, you may have to pay full price for your medication to be able to pick it up on time. Paying full price for your medication is generally very costly, and you should be able to rely on your psychiatrist’s office to complete your prior auth paperwork accurately and on time.

What You Can Do If Your Mental Health Doctor Might Be Ghosting You

Your psychiatrist or other mental health provider might be ghosting you due to staff turnover, burnout, personal issues, or taking on more patients than their practice can handle. For all practical purposes, why your doctor has ghosted you isn’t as important as what you do about the situation.

Although it might feel uncomfortable or even disloyal to think about changing providers, that might be the best course of action. In the case of decreased or absent communication from your mental health provider, and where your mental health treatment isn’t as good as it once was, your best option is to find a new behavioral health provider. If you are already dealing with anxiety, depression, or ADHD, it’s not helpful to also be dealing with the stress of not knowing if your doctor is really there for you. You need a provider who communicates clearly and promptly with you, your pharmacy, and your insurance provider, and one who respects your time also.

At Upper Valley Behavioral Health, our patients come first. We pride ourselves on our friendly, straightforward communication. Our patients tell us how much they appreciate the responsiveness of our staff and providers. If you live in or near El Paso or one of the other cities we serve and you’re ready to change mental health providers, consider coming to UVBH. Fill out 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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