A Mental Health Moment

Bernadette Joy Graham,
Licensed Mental Health Therapist

Questions & Answers on Mental Health

By Bernadette Joy Graham, MA, LPCC, CCHt, Licensed Mental Health Therapist
The Truth Contributor

Over the past couple of years of having the opportunity to write and share Mental Health Moment, I have been contacted by some readers with various questions about mental health as well as topics they feel would be important to deliver to the audience.  Below are a few questions I have collected over the years and my responses:


Question 1:  How do I get started, how do I come see you or any therapist? 

Response:  You do not need a referral to see a mental health provider.  I suggest starting with your insurance. Contact your insurance carrier via phone or website (most have portals now) and ask for the contact information for say five therapists within 15 miles of your zip code.  You may also visit websites such as www.psychologytoday.com  or www.goodtherapy.org  and scroll through many mental health providers.  You can be specific such as male or female therapist, family therapy, or a therapist who specializes in trauma.  There will be many from which to choose on their website.  These sites are free, you do not need to set up accounts or pay a fee.  Lastly, ask your medical provider if they know of any mental health providers that may meet your needs.  If you do not have insurance, ask the mental health provider about a sliding fee schedule.


Question 2:  Do I have to take medications if I go to a mental health provider?

Response:  No.  Only Psychiatrists, medical doctors, PAs, and Certified Nurse Practitioners can prescribe medication.  If your providers give you a prescription be sure to ask a lot of questions to better understand the purpose of the medication, side effects and what to expect.  It is good practice to be in counseling while taking psychotropic medications so you can work on the issue in other ways such as developing coping skills as medications alone hardly work.  If you start taking a medication and it causes side effects or any other problems contact the provider who prescribed it for further direction as many medications if stopped abruptly will cause difficulties.


Question 3:  What do I do if I start seeing a mental health provider and don’t feel comfortable or just don’t like it?

Response: Not everyone is a good match and therapists understand if you are having difficulties.  Be upfront and tell your therapist you feel you need a different therapist for whatever reason and they are obligated to help you find another therapist, but you will not hurt their feelings or make them mad.  If you just stop going to your sessions the only person who loses out is you.  If nothing else, just simply tell them you will not be returning and you are seeking other help.  Don’t give up on the first therapist you see, at least try a few before throwing in the towel.


Question 4:  How do I get my family member, loved one or friend to go see a therapist?

Response:  This is as difficult as it gets with family and loved ones.  Parents often force their child into therapy and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.  If you feel someone you care about needs some mental health help, let them know you will help them and even go to the appointment with them ( you will not be able to sit in on the appointment but it may help get them there.)  Help them find a therapist.  Do your best to relieve the stigma associated with mental health.  It is healthy to get a mental health assessment especially if the individual may cause harm to themselves or someone else.  It doesn’t hurt and the first session only lasts about 60 mins (it takes longer than that to wash your car).


Take a mental health moment and contact me should you have other questions that I may answer to help everyone to better understand mental health.  Mental health is an integral part of our overall health, it may be the key to solving other health problems.  Don’t avoid how you feel, friends and family are here to support us but see a professional to get the best answers that are objective and confidential.  If you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis, while you can always call 911, the mental health crisis line is 988 and the individual on the other end of the phone specializes in mental health issues.


Life can be difficult at times, none of us get through it without some bumps in the road.  Make your journey a little less complicated and get your mind right!  Seek out a therapist today.


Bernadette Graham is a Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor, and Certified Grief Recovery Specialist. She is also a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. Provide feedback or reach out at graham.bernadette@gmail.com  For appointment information please call 419.409.4929  (Appointments available on Tuesdays and Fridays only). Office location is 3454 Oak Alley Ct. Suite 300 Toledo, OH 43606 www.bjgrahamcounseling.com  Available for team building, employee empowerment in motivation and better understanding mental health in the work place.  Accepting new clients ages 13 and older.