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Mental health care team
For more than 30 years, Allina Mental Health has helped children, adolescents, adults and seniors work through times when the troubles of life interfere with their ability to function or cope.
Questions and answers: Mental health care team
Everyone has good and bad days. But there are times when the troubles of life interfere with your ability to function or cope.
You should consider therapy if you've had any of the following within the last few weeks:
Psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors and can prescribe medicine. They have special training in the biological causes of medical conditions that affect emotional health. They assess, diagnose and treat addiction, emotional and mental problems. A psychiatrist may supervise or be directly involved in your care.
Psychologists are licensed mental health professionals and do not prescribe medication. They help people evaluate and resolve emotional difficulties through counseling. These professionals have master's or doctoral degrees and have finished supervised internships in a hospital or organized health setting.
Therapists are different kinds of mental health providers. A therapist may be a mental health counselor, psychologist, social worker, nurse, a marriage and family counselor or another licensed professional.
Substance abuse counselors are licensed mental health professionals who assess and treat addiction disorders. Also called therapists, they may provide referrals to other mental health providers.
Ask someone you trust for a recommendation. This may be your family doctor, religious leader, family member or friend.
You can call your local mental health center or county social service agency. If you live in Minnesota, call the Allina Mental Health location nearest you.
Once you have a few names, be sure to check with your health insurance to find out who is covered under your policy.
Finding a therapist or psychiatrist with whom you feel comfortable and at ease is very important. Ask them if they are licensed and how long they've been practicing. Ask about what they specialize in. Find out if they are covered under your insurance policy.
For the first session, you will meet with a licensed therapist, nurse or chemical dependency counselor whose expertise matches your needs. The purpose of this "intake" appointment is to learn about your needs and the best plan of treatment for you.
In order to focus your treatment effectively, the mental health provider will need to understand…
Many insurance companies provide coverage for mental health services. Check with your insurance company to see if mental health or substance abuse services are covered. If they are, ask how you may get these benefits. Find out how much the insurance company will pay for mental health services and what benefit limits they have.
If you are not covered by insurance, you may pay for services yourself. These are called out-of-pocket costs. Call the clinic to learn what the fees are. Find out if you can pay on a sliding-fee-scale, where the amount you pay depends on your income. You may also want to check with your county social service agency to find more resources.
We understand that a major concern for people is if their treatment will be confidential. That's why our employees actively protect sensitive and personal information. Every test, every decision, every medicine, every item on a patient's record is confidential. Such information can only be accessed by health care providers who are directly involved in your care.
For the best possible treatment, it is often necessary to exchange or receive information with other health care providers involved in your care. If that happens, you will be asked to give permission to exchange that information.
State or federal law requires reporting of some behaviors. Some examples are the suspected abuse of children and vulnerable adults, when a threat against someone's life is made, or when a court of law has deemed it necessary to view a patient's medical record.
Learn more about our patient privacy practices...
The length of your therapy depends on your specific needs. It also depends on how you and your treatment team feel about your progress.
Treatment usually ends when your therapy goals have been met.
Often used with other types of therapy, medicines can be a very important part of treatment. They can eliminate, control or reduce the symptoms of mental or emotional illness.
Medicines used to treat mental or emotional illness are called psychotropic drugs. Since side effects vary by medicine and individual, their use should be monitored by the medical professional who prescribed them.
The physician or psychiatrist who prescribed a medicine for you is the best person to ask how long you should take it. Some medicines are used for a short time. Others are used for years.
The time it takes to feel the effects of a medicine also varies by medicine and person.
Source: Allina Health Mental Health
Reviewed by: Molly Brusman, patient care manager, Mental Health Services, Abbott Northwestern Hospital
First Published: 02/25/2002
Last Reviewed: 09/16/2012