10 Ways to Get Mental Health Help When There’s a Shortage of Therapists


Websites such as Psychology Today, Therapy Den and ZocDoc have directories that allow you to search for mental health professionals who specialize in particular issues such as anxiety and depression. They also show you which therapists have insurance and, importantly, which ones are accepting new clients.

Once you have your list, prepare for that first phone call or email – many therapists’ preferred method of contact – by providing detailed information about your needs and what you hope to gain from therapy. This helps them know if they can help you or if they should refer you to someone else.

“Doing a bit of that prep work to figure out what you’d like to work on can go a long way in connecting you with a therapist who might be a better fit than just cold calling and saying, ‘Hey, I need from a therapist,” said Esther Benoit, a licensed professional counselor in Newport News, Va.

If you find a therapist who’s right for you but can’t see you for a while, ask to be put on a waiting list, then ask for referrals for other therapists who specialize in the same mental health issues. Also, keep in mind that group practices may integrate you earlier than solo practitioners.

When all else fails, you may be able to ask your health insurance provider to help you schedule an appointment. “Tell them you can’t find providers and ask them to do the work for you,” said Jenna Wolfson, a licensed clinical social worker in Santa Cruz County, California.


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