Types Of Mental Health Care

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Keeping good mental health is important for everyone, whether or not you struggle with a diagnosed mental disorder. Many people shy away from the mental health world because they think accepting it would show they are unstable or weak. Thankfully, stigma in mental health is slowly decreasing, as more people share their experiences, and teach others that accepting a helping hand is a sign of great strength and wisdom rather than weakness. There are several types of standard mental health care outlined herein. 


Psychologists can help you with mental disorders or help a "normal" person through a tough time in their lives. They cannot prescribe medicine, but they know a lot about mental health, and most often offer counseling. Counseling services are widely variable. There is family counseling that focuses on a whole family or just a few members, child counseling, couples counseling and/or marriage counseling, and various forms of adult counseling for grief, substance abuse, anxiety, major depression, and other mental illnesses. A professional counselor will never judge you, and information between you and him/her is strictly confidential unless you decide to release the information yourself.


Unlike psychologists/counselors, psychiatrists can prescribe medication. They are doctors who went to medical school and completed residency time in a mental health setting. They can provide a fresh view of the problem you are experiencing, which may differ slightly than what the psychologist would say. The more perspective, the better. Naturally, a large part of a psychiatrist's job is to prescribe medication. If you are experiencing an episode of Major Depressive Disorder, the psychiatrist can get you on an antidepressant. Lastly, if you suffer from a psychological disorder, a psychiatrist can not only accurately evaluate you, but can also explain the physiology of the disorder. For example, he can tell you what serotonin is and how low levels of it in the brain are a sign of depression.


In serious cases of mental breakdown or an episode of a mental illness, patients may need to spend some time in a mental health hospital. One example is if you have Borderline Personality Disorder and you have self-injured by cutting yourself. Friends or family might take you to the hospital then. Extreme examples include episodes of psychosis (when you lose touch with reality) or following a failed suicide attempt. In the hospital, you will share a room with a roommate, be provided meals, and meet with an in-hospital psychiatrist who will evaluate you and decide how to get you stable again as quickly as possible. There are usually therapy groups where everyone in the ward comes together for a discussion or lesson led by a psychologist, nurse, or other professional. Average mental health hospital stays are 3-5 days long.