Mental Illness Awareness Week: Find Mental Health Care in Houston

There is no threshold for how bad you have to feel to deserve support. Maybe you’re feeling depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. You could be struggling with mom rage or relying on alcohol or other substances to cope with stress more often than you’d like. Perhaps you just don’t feel like yourself lately, and can’t quite explain why. If you’re asking yourself if your mental health is bad enough to need help, you may benefit from counseling, medication treatment, or both.

The hardest part is knowing where to start.

If your mental health symptoms are interfering with your ability to function at home, at work or in your relationships, or your symptoms feel debilitating in another way, medication may be helpful.

If you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to take medicine, you can start with a counselor and ask for support around your decision to seek out medication treatment, or not.

Professionals who prescribe medications for mental health symptoms

General or family practitioner

If you have a general practitioner that you trust, start with them. Tell them the thoughts, feelings or behaviors you’re concerned about and ask them to advise you on treatment options. They may be able to prescribe medication to help target your symptoms. Or if necessary, they can offer referrals to a counselor or psychiatrist they trust. Seeing your primary care provider for medication is probably the most cost effective option, since they’re likely already in your insurance network.

OB-GYN

If you are comfortable with them, your OB-GYN can be another great resource for mental health care and treatment options. Most OB-GYNs are familiar with women’s mental health concerns that arise. They often treat mental health concerns as part of the care they’re already providing to their patients. If you need more specialized care, they may refer you to a counselor or psychiatrist for additional support.

Psychiatrist

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in treating patients for mental health symptoms and disorders. Most psychiatrists target very specific symptoms. They are not in the business of listening, analyzing root causes, or helping their patients develop coping skills and strategies, beyond medication.

In network psychiatry will vary in cost depending on provider and insurance plan, but could be as low as your copay. Out of network psychiatry can run anywhere from $150-$350+ per appointment. It’s common to see a psychiatrist for an initial appointment, a 2 week follow up and monthly {or less frequent} medication checks after that.

Professionals who offer talk therapy and counseling

Counselor, psychotherapist, therapist, psychologist

Professional counselors, therapists and psychotherapists tend to have a master’s degree in a counseling or psychology related field. Psychologists have a doctorate degree in psychology. These clinicians cannot prescribe any medications. Depending on their qualifications and postgraduate training, they will be can assess, diagnose and treat various psychological and substance use conditions.

The most important thing you can do, is find a clinician you feel comfortable with. Focus on finding someone you believe can help you with the concerns you want to address in therapy. Don’t settle for someone you don’t click with. There is a counselor out there for everyone, but not every counselor is the right fit for all people.

How to find a therapist in Houston

Houston is home to thousands of mental health providers with personalities and prices that vary as much as their specialties. Counseling rates in Houston range from $10-$200+ per session. Think about the characteristics you want in a therapist, and you can likely find them here. And thanks to the expansion of telehealth, if you can’t find them in Houston, you can likely find them somewhere within the state of Texas.

Common ways to find a counselor include:

Find low cost counseling in Houston {no insurance required}

Many non-profit organizations offer free or reduced cost counseling. Examples of mental health providers in Houston, who offer affordable therapy include the Montrose Center, Family Houston , and Jewish Family Services. Additionally, Open Path Collective is a non-profit directory of providers who offer reduced fee services.

Some private counseling practices offer reduced fee services, often with provisionally licensed counselors or graduate student interns. Don’t underestimate the value of working with a counselor in training. You often get two heads for the price of one, since they undergo frequent training and consultation with experienced supervisors. They will bring what they learn back to you, in the work you do together.

Use your health insurance for therapy

If you’re using your insurance company, or planning to file out of network claims, your provider must enter a mental health diagnosis into your medical record. Since medical records are protected by privacy laws, this is not usually a problem. However, sometimes people have personal or professional reasons they’d prefer not to have a formal mental health diagnosis in their records.

Assuming you’re comfortable receiving a mental health diagnosis, consult your insurance company about in network options. Then you can check out the counselor’s professional online presence {website & business social media pages} to try and get a feel for their personality what it might feel like to work with them. Once you’ve found someone you think could be a good fit, contact them to request an initial consultation or first appointment.

Going out of network for counseling has some benefits

There can be some benefits to going out of network, if it’s an option. Some benefits of going out of network include:

  • Mental health diagnosis is not required
  • May increase options for specialized care, since out of network counselors tend to be more specialists, than generalists
  • Flexibility in treatment planning and session structure
  • Not at risk of insurance company placing any limitations on number or frequency of sessions
  • May be eligible for partial or full reimbursement of services- varies greatly by insurance plan

Whether you decide to seek out medication treatment, counseling or both, you are worthy of feeling seen, heard and supported.

Additional Mental Health Resources for Houston Moms

National Alliance on Mental Illness: Greater Houston
Harris Center 24-hour crisis line 713-970-7000, option 1 {Harris County}
Texana: 24-hour crisis line 1-800-633-5686 {Fort Bend County}
Tricounty Behavioral Health: 24- hour crisis line 800-659-6994 {Montgomery, Liberty, Walker Counties}
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline {Call & Chat support available}
Postpartum Support International
Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women


 

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Anne has spent most of her life living in Katy, Texas or finding her way back to it. After several years in Houston, Anne, her husband, two daughters and their dog migrated back to Katy. Years spent trying to juggle full time motherhood and full time community mental health jobs led Anne to open her own counseling practice. Anne Russey Counseling provides online therapy for moms, anxious adults and LGBTQ+ people throughout Texas. Anne is at her best as a mom when she is on the go {with or without her kids} and would take a dentist appointment over imaginary play any day. Anne is learning to accept she will never get it all done and to embrace the joy she finds in reheated cups of coffee while her kids play independently for a few precious moments. You can find Anne’s thoughts, usually related to mental health, on her blog.

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