By: Hallie Rubin, PA-C
Finding the right team is crucial in mental health treatment! But what does this even mean? It is essential to have support from positive relationships with therapists, psychiatrists, school, work and family members.
Therapy: The advice I always give to my patients is to find a therapist you connect well with. Find a therapist that understands you and is willing to get to know you. They should help you with coping skills that work with your lifestyle. Therapy should not be you talking and someone simply listening. It should be someone helping with techniques and tricks that help you feel more confident and give you a better quality of daily life. Goals should be attainable for YOU and should not just be goals that seem ideal for other people.
Psychiatry: Find a psychiatry physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner to help you with your medication in a way that you feel comfortable with. There are many options, so work with someone you feel listens to your needs. Everyone has a different comfort level regarding medication, and that is okay. You are the only one who truly understands what is happening in your body. Whoever helps manage your medication should always listen to how you feel, even if you are a kid!
School/work: Don’t be afraid to ask for resources and support at school and/or work. Your therapist or psychiatrist should be able to write you a letter explaining your diagnosis and specific accommodations that can be helpful for the quality of your day at school or work. Most schools have options for 504 plans or IEP programs that can allow for accommodations such as extra time on tests and assignments, smaller classroom settings, taking tests in separate rooms, sitting in the front of the classroom and more. Talk to your boss or school counselor to find out what resources are available for mental health.
Family members and friends: Allow people close to you to help. Let the people around you assist in better understanding your emotions. Let them hold you accountable for coping skills, help you work on relationships and remind you to take your medicine and go to appointments. Be open to conversations and “check-ins” with your loved ones. When you are irritable, remember that people around you are there to lift you up. Don’t shut down, but instead, continue to grow your relationships.
Hallie Alpern is a physician assistant at Young Minds Psychiatry, a practice for all ages in Atlanta. Young Minds Psychiatry specializes in mental health evaluations, diagnoses and treatment plans for patients who struggle with conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD and schizophrenia.