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How To Find a Psychiatrist

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Updated June 18, 2014

Do you need to find a psychiatrist? Perhaps you are moving. Perhaps you want a new doctor, or this is the first time you've needed to see a "pdoc." Here are a few suggestions to help.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. If you have a university within a reasonable driving distance, call their Department of Psychiatry. These psychiatrists are often on the cutting edge of research.

  2. If the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) has a branch in your area, get in touch with their offices for a reference. You can also get in touch with their state offices.

  3. Join the local chapter of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (formerly NDMDA). This way you can ask individual members for their recommendations and be part of a supportive group at the same time.

  4. Phone the psychiatric ward of a hospital in your area and ask the head nurse whom she would see if she needed a psychiatrist.

  5. Review the list of approved mental health care providers from your insurance company.

  6. Ask your general practitioner and therapist for their recommendations.

  7. Scan the yellow pages. Look for certifications such as "Board Certified in Psychiatry" or "Board Certified in Pediatric Psychiatry." Those who specialize in Psychopharmacology may be a good choice.

  8. You may want to contact the information and referral (I&R) services of the United Way in your town - particularly if you are in need of financial assistance.

  9. Many companies offer employee assistance programs that may be able to provide the names of psychiatrists. Ask your Human Resources Department for information.

  10. Call family members and friends for their advice.

  11. Telephone the referral service of the hospitals in your city.

  12. Your pastor or rabbi may be able to suggest the names of appropriate psychiatrists to you.

Tips:

  1. Before you start, think about what is important to you. Do you have a strong preference for a male or female doctor? Are the doctor's religious beliefs an issue for you?

  2. Set up your first visit as a short consultation. This will allow you to meet the psychiatrist and his staff without shelling out a lot of money. Some may offer a free consultation.
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