Frequently Asked Questions About Mental Health
Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: March 2023 | Last updated: May 2023
Mental health includes how you think, feel, and act. It can fall on a spectrum and vary for each person. You may have questions about mental health conditions, treatment options, and resources. Keep reading for a list of common questions and answers about mental health conditions.1
How do I decide if I might have a mental health condition?
Only professionals in the fields of psychology, counseling, social work, psychiatry, and medicine can diagnose a mental health condition. Online screening tools or opinions from friends and family are not enough to diagnose a mental health condition.1
You may be uncomfortable or fear talking about your mental health with your doctor. However, it is important to discuss your concerns and symptoms so you can get the help you need.
What kind of services are there, and who should I see?
There are a variety of services for mental health conditions. Mental health professionals have many different specialties and serve many different communities. The first step for most people is to find a therapist who they feel comfortable working with.
Are there support groups in my area? How do I find them?
Support groups are nonprofessional organizations that offer spaces for people to come together for peer support. There are many different support groups available for mental health conditions.2
Resources that offer specific support topics include:2-4
Will my insurance cover mental health services?
Though laws have been made that mandate mental health insurance coverage, there are still things you need to keep in mind. Differences in costs, limits, and coverage still exist. The best way to learn about your coverage, as well as professionals in your network, is to call the customer service number of your insurance company. You also can look up your policy benefits online.5
Other resources that offer insurance support include:6-9
- Medicaid and Medicare offer mental health benefits.
- Tricare for active duty military members, has mental health coverage.
- The US Department of Health and Human Services offers an online resource that can help you find out more about coverage.
Are there services specifically for the LGBTQ+ community?
Health disparity is a term used to explain differences in health between groups of people. The LGBTQ+ community has a long history of health disparities. Because of this, many professionals are now trained to work with the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community.10
There are many resources that can direct you to an affirming mental health specialist in your area. Some of these resources are:10-12
- A guide to LGBTQ+ mental health resources from Pride
- LGBTQ+ resources from the National Alliance for Mental Health
- LGBTQ+ resources for young people from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Are mental health professionals trained to work with someone who looks like me?
Mental health providers are trained in working with diverse cultures, races, and ethnicities. Some also identify as or specialize in serving specific cultural groups. There may be barriers that need to be discussed with your mental health professional to bridge any differences in understanding each other.13
If you feel that a professional cannot meet your needs, find another one. Consider asking for a referral from your doctor or someone you trust. You may also contact your insurance company for other providers in your area. Or you can visit the Inclusive Therapists website to find someone who specializes in your identity group.
I would prefer not to talk to my doctor about my mental health. Are there other options?
Though doctors are trained to diagnose and treat many mental health conditions, some people want to start somewhere else. Talking to your doctor may feel awkward or scary. But mental health is just as important as physical health. Your doctor can help you get the treatment you need, find resources, and come up with a plan for your mental health.
One option is to speak with your insurance company about therapists or counselors in your area. Another option is to ask your doctor for a mental health referral without saying why you are seeking it. A third option is using online mental health resources to find care in your area.
Can mental health drugs help me?
Some people successfully manage mental health conditions without prescription drugs. But some disorders or severe cases may require medicine. Combining psychotherapy with medicine can be an effective approach.14
There are many different medicines used to treat mental health conditions. Talk to your doctor about any medicine you may be taking or want to take.14