Medcor encourages our advocates to make mental health a priority, and sometimes that can involve seeking out the help of a specialist. If you find yourself struggling with your own thoughts, there are multiple levels of Mental Health Specialists that can help you. Read about each type of provider and contact someone today to start feeling better.
Licensed Therapists are mental health clinicians who complete a master’s degree in psychology or a counseling-related program (a two-year postgraduate course). They can provide comprehensive assessment and treatment of mental, emotional, behavioral, and addictive disorders. Licensed therapists provide individual and group therapies in person and virtually. They cannot prescribe medication but can refer you to other resources.
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioners
Mental Health Nurse Practitioners are nurses (2–4-year nursing degree) who then complete a master’s degree from a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program with at least 500 clinical hours. They typically have training in at least two psychotherapy modalities (psychotherapy and cognitive therapy); in most states, they can prescribe and monitor simple medication plans.
Psychologists have a doctorate (PhD or PsyD) in Psychology (9-10 years of training) and have extensive skills and a wide range of therapeutic techniques for talk therapies and other non-pharmacologic therapy techniques. They are not medical doctors (MD), however, they have extensive training and are required to complete 2,000-3,000 supervised practice hours before being qualified to seek a license. Psychologists can practice independently, and in some states, they can prescribe medication.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors (MD or DO) with 12 years of advanced training (college-4yrs, medical school-4yrs, psychiatry residency-4yrs) that can diagnose and treat a wide range of mental health disorders and can also prescribe and manage complex medication regimens. Psychiatrists often prescribe and manage medication monthly and work in conjunction with therapists, who provide therapy on a more frequent schedule..
When Medcor makes recommendations to clients providing mental health resources for employees, a typical recommendation is to start with a Licensed Therapist who can assess needs and provide therapy. Companies then add offerings (or access to other providers) as needs warrant. This is also an excellent start in addressing your own mental health needs.
If you have never seen a Mental Health Specialist, you may want to start with a therapy provider and see if they recommend medication or refer you to a psychiatrist. Many people benefit from therapy without medication and don’t require another level of provider.
Therapy is available exclusively virtually from every level of provider if that is how you are most comfortable, but some providers may want to evaluate you in person. The important thing is that you contact a Mental Health Specialist and start the process of becoming your happiest self.
If you are experiencing complex thoughts, call 988 to talk to someone now. 988 is a U.S.-based Mental Health Emergency Hotline.