HOW TO GET THE HOLY GRAIL OF A THERAPIST/PSYCHIATRIST APPOINTMENT IN A REASONABLE FRAME OF TIME
Be sure to have a trusted person by your side to encourage you as you navigate this labyrinth. Perhaps your trusted person will even make some of the phone calls for you!
Gimme an appointment . . . or ELSE.
Start by logging on to your health insurance website. Look up the list of in-network therapy/ psychiatry providers. If you can't remember your password, you can make a new one. I recommend:
Call the first fifteen providers on your list. It may take a while to find someone.
Quit psychiatry to farm goats.
Awesome, but not taking new clients.
On list of preferred providers, not actually a preferred provider.
Booking appointments three months out.
Actually a pizza place.
Yay! Awesome in-network provider who can squeeze you in next week!
You'll end up leaving a lot of voice-mail messages. Be sure to disable the setting on your phone that blocks unknown calls, so you don't miss a call back. Keep going down the list until you get an appointment.
Labyrinth? This is more like purgatory.
But don't stop there. Keep going until you find someone who can see you within a reasonable range of time.
I mean, BEFORE the ice caps melt would be great.
If a provider offers you an appointment months out, consider accepting it as a back-up option.
12th of Never? I'll take it!
No luck? Ready to throw your phone at the wall?
Consider making an appointment with your regular doctor. They may be able to provide you with a referral that will get you in to see a psychiatrist more quickly. In some cases, they can also prescribe medication. (Although probably not with the degree of precision a psychiatrist may provide.)
Consider Telehealth. You may be able to hook up with a tele-health therapist within days or weeks. Some health insurance covers tele-health. Some do not. You can probably find out on your health insurance provider's website. You can also call the number on the back of your insurance card and ask about telehealth options. I haven't ventured into the telehealth world myself, but here is an article about online therapy services. And this article is about telehealth psychiatry options. I have some friends for whom this option has worked out really well.
Consider non-insurance options. Here is the link to the "no insurance/crappy insurance that is impossible to use" page.
I am sorry our insurance system is so awful. It shouldn't be this hard to get help, and it makes you want to tear out your hair. Once I got so demoralized by a phone call with my health insurance company that I spent thirteen years writing a book inspired by the experience.
I do not recommend this method for dealing with your helpless sense of fury. It is very inefficient. But there is hope, even if you hit fifty dead ends. Just channel your frustration into motivation. If you give up, the Labyrinth wins.
Success in Making an Appointment?!? Hooray!
You have triumphed in this dystopian system! Treat yourself to a cupcake!
Now you need to take good care of yourself until your appointment. If you are feeling well enough, check out all the lifestyle stuff.
Or look into getting connected with a support group.
If you are having difficulty rising from the linoleum, and are unceasingly assailed by The Voice of Doom, here are non-professional & eccentric instructions for getting through a very bad day.
Bipolar Bear & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Health Insurance: a Fable for Grown Ups is a graphic novel about a bipolar bear who gets lost in the Labyrinth of Health Insurance Claims.
When Mystical Creatures Attack! is a novel about an idealistic teacher who has a nervous breakdown and corresponds with her former students from an inpatient psychiatric facility.
Copyright 2022 - Kathleen Founds - Depression Whackamole