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Your First Mental Health Appointment: What to Expect

March 18, 2020

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You might have a variety of reasons for seeking mental health treatment. Whether it’s panic attacks that you can’t get under control, or postpartum depression that keeps you from getting out of bed in the morning, whatever the reason – you’ve decided to get help. If you’ve never seen a mental health professional, the idea of your first mental health appointment might be overwhelming. Here, we’ll try to help you understand what to expect so you can feel more comfortable about your first visit. Every provider will have a different style but most initial mental health appointments will include the following…

We’ll explain who we are and collaborate on expectations.

It’s important for you to understand the provider you’re working with. It would be typical for your provider to explain a little bit about their background, their availability to you, and your working relationship. There would be opportunity here for you and your provider to come up with a set of guidelines that you agree to, which will remain throughout your treatment. 

Why did you come in?

We want to know why you’re here today. More specifically, what was it that was the “last straw” so to speak. Everyone has what we would consider a “baseline” level of functioning, and at some point before you booked your appointment, the way that you were functioning shifted to a point that you couldn’t tolerate anymore. It’s important for us to understand when that shift happened, and (if you know) why it happened. 

What is a typical day like?

We want to get a sense of how to move around in the world. How often do you go out with friends? Do you have friends? Do you have family nearby? How many hours are you sleeping at night? Do you exercise?, and so many more.  Some people might find these questions personal and intrusive, but truly, we want to get the best and most complete picture of you. Who better than you to paint that picture for us?

What’s your history?

This is very broad, but we’ll help narrow it down. We’ll need to know about any medical problems, allergies, and medications you’ve been on. So, if you choose to start medications, we can make safe decisions about medications for your mental health.  In addition to this, we’ll ask you some questions about your mental health treatment history, and family history. We’ll also need to know if you have ever been hospitalized. In some cases we might ask your permission to contact and collaborate with other providers that you see. 

Safety Questions

When you go to your first mental health appointment, there is a chance that you’ll feel that safety questions don’t relate to you or your circumstances. But we as professionals, know that emotional problems and stress can potentially lead to unfamiliar, or even unsafe thoughts. The most important thing about these questions is that you answer them honestly. When we discuss safety, we’ll make sure that we do everything we can to help you feel safe and assist you in making a plan in case a time arises where you don’t feel safe. 

What can we do for you?

This is the part where you let us know what you hope to gain from your visits with us. This information is a crucial feature of your treatment. Based on this, your provider may also have you fill out some scales or questionnaires which will help guide us in tracking your progress. 

Goals and Treatment Planning

We will obtain all the information we need (which frankly, could take more than one session). Then, you and your provider will work together to devise a “treatment plan” to help you reach your goals. Your provider will offer you a variety of concepts that can be a part of your treatment plan including therapies and modalities that we’ll work on routinely, and possibly medications. 

Feedback

Your feedback for your provider is an important part of the treatment process, both at your first mental health appointment, and along the way. Every person, every patient is unique, and we need to be able to adapt our skills and style in order for your treatment to be the most successful.

At Talkiatry, we have a talented team of psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners that are ready to collaborate with you and provide warm and empathic treatment, meet them here

About Talkiatry

Talkiatry is a local, accessible and complete mental healthcare solution that accepts insurance. We close the gap for individuals who want to get better, but feel that mental health care has been challenging to navigate up until this point and want a more convenient way to take the first step. Talkiatry takes the traditional local mental health visit and combines it with technology, scale, efficiency, and design to provide the best possible environment for healing.

The Talkiatry branded mental health practice is independently owned and operated by a licensed Psychiatrist. For more information about the relationship between Talkiatry Management Services, LLC and the branded group practice please click here.

Content from the Talkiatry website and blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The intent of the information provided on this website is for general consumer understanding and entertainment only.

TAGS: first appointment, initial visit

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