How to find a psychiatrist who’s a good match for you

How to find a psychiatrist who’s a good match for you

Here's a guide to finding the best psychiatrist for you, including tips on how to choose a provider who is in-network, flexible, and a good fit for your needs.

Reviewed by:
Austin Lin, MD
|
View bio
October 19, 2023

Key takeaways

We get it, it’s difficult to find a psychiatrist. It can be especially difficult to find a psychiatrist who is a good match for you or a loved one. Luckily, it is possible!  

There are many other factors to consider when choosing the best psychiatrist for you, so if you’re not sure where to start, use this guide.


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Why is it so hard to find a psychiatrist?

If you’re living with a mental health condition and have decided to reach out for professional support, it can be frustrating to run into roadblocks when searching for care— whether that’s with a psychiatrist or another mental health care professional. Here are a few of the challenges you may face— and what to do about them.  

Not sure if you need to see a psychiatrist? Check out when to see a psychiatrist.

Many providers do not accept insurance

Almost half of all mental health providers in America do not accept health insurance, compared to 10% in other specialties. This is an alarming fact that hinders the availability of affordable and accessible mental health care. There are many reasons for this, but one of the top reasons is that insurance companies reimburse a psychiatrist, on average, 20% less than other providers.

Many providers aren't taking new patients

As mental health treatment becomes more widely accepted, more people seek help. However, seeking help for a mental health condition still carries a stigma that can push patients away from hospitals and further lower the pool of available psychiatrists. This leaves you to compete with other patients for treatment availability in group and private practices. In addition, the United States is experiencing a psychiatrist shortage, making it even more challenging to find a health care provider. In fact, 57% of adults with a mental illness do not receive any form of care in a given year.

Finding the right fit is hard

Once you find a psychiatrist, you may realize you don’t feel a connection with that doctor, making it difficult to open up in treatment. This might be due to factors like a significant age gap, the provider lacking contextual knowledge about your culture, or a difference in communication styles. In addition, the lack of reviews and transparency in the treatment methods of any given psychiatrist makes finding the right one challenging.

You can start the process of finding the best psychiatrist for you by focusing on the course of treatment you are looking for. This might include medication, talk therapy (also called psychotherapy), such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, or both.  

Getting in touch with a psychiatrist isn't easy

Due to decreased reimbursement rates, differences in coverage between insurance plans, and other issues we’ve mentioned here, most psychiatrists do not have a robust platform for patient engagement. There is seldom a way of contacting the right doctor online in real-time to simply ask questions without making an appointment. As a result, you spend more time calling phone numbers and waiting for a response than getting the help you need. To avoid this issue, consider a psychiatrist with up-to-date technology that enables you to communicate and schedule appointments easily.

How do I find the right psychiatrist?

As cumbersome as it may be to find the right mental health professional, there are things you can do to make the process easier. Stick with it! You deserve to find the right provider and the right treatment plan so that you can start feeling like yourself again.


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Start on your insurance company’s website

This is the best way to ensure that you find a psychiatrist or mental health professional who accepts your insurance. In addition, many insurance provider websites will allow you to further narrow your criteria by factors such as location, gender, and language. Sites like ZocDoc.com and PsychologyToday.com are also great places to check. You will be able to filter providers by the insurance they accept as well as other factors such as years of experience, whether they offer telehealth or in-person care, or specialize in psychotherapy or medication management etc.  

Find a psychiatrist who is easy to contact.

In many cases, psychiatrists do not have proper websites with sufficient contact information. Find one that not only has a phone number but an online portal to make appointments. This is an excellent indication of not only how difficult or easy it will be to get an appointment but an indicator of your ease of access for future appointments or issues.

Make sure they are flexible.

It can be difficult to be in the same place at the same time for an appointment each week. If this is a challenge for you, make sure your psychiatrist offers telemedicine appointments. This will allow you to keep your appointments even if you’re traveling. Also, if they have the right technology in place, you can easily reschedule or cancel appointments online.

Be comfortable in their space.

This point is often overlooked, but it’s an important factor to consider to ensure you get the most out of your visits. If the space doesn’t make you feel comfortable while speaking about your mental health issues and well-being, then you should find an environment that does.

Finding a psychiatrist or health care professional that meets all of your needs may feel impossible, but keeping these factors in mind as you begin your search will allow you to narrow down your options quickly.

At Talkiatry, we make finding a psychiatrist easy. All of our doctors accept insurance and offer virtual appointments.  

Take our 10-minute online assessment to see if Talkiatry is right for you  

4 Signs a psychiatrist is right for you  

How do you know if your psychiatrist is a good fit? Here are 4 things to look for.  

They make you feel heard: You know yourself best. So when it comes to getting care for a mental health condition, you should always feel like your psychiatrist is listening to you. Are they addressing your concerns? Do you feel encouraged to share your concerns? You should feel like you have a say in your treatment plan.  

They validate your concerns: Noone likes to feel like their worries are being brushed aside. This is especially true when it comes to getting care for your mental health. Sharing what you’re going through can feel vulnerable. Having a psychiatrist who validates your feelings and concerns can help you remain open and honest throughout your sessions and get the most out of your treatment plan.  

They recall details from previous sessions: It can feel frustrating and time-consuming to have to repeat the information you provided in previous sessions. While you may need to repeat or reshare minor details, you should always feel like your psychiatrist is taking good notes and is starting off your next session where you ended your last one. Your time is valuable too!  

They take time to answer your questions: It can be hard to fit everything into a 30 or 60-minute session, but you should never feel rushed in and out of your psychiatrist's office. Your psychiatrist should take them time to answer your questions thoroughly and follow-up on questions you may not have had time to address in your session.  

Looking for a psychiatrist? Talkiatry can help

Talkiatry is a national psychiatry practice that provides in-network, virtual care. Co-founded by a patient and a triple-board-certified psychiatrist, Talkiatry has over 300 doctors, 60 insurance partners, and first visits available in days. We treat patients with anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, and more.  

Get started with a short online assessment.      

The information in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and should never be substituted for medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. If you or someone you know may be in danger, call 911 or the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 right away.  

Sources

JAMA Psychiatry | Acceptance of Insurance by Psychiatrists and the Implications for Access to Mental Health Care

Psychiatric Services Volume 69, Issue 3 | Differential Reimbursement of Psychiatric Services by Psychiatrists and Other Medical Providers

Mental Health America | Mental Health in America Printed Reports

American Psychiatric Association | Mental Health Parity

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Frequently asked questions

Does Talkiatry take my insurance?

We're in network with major insurers, including:

  • Aetna
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Cigna
  • Humana
  • Medicare
  • Oscar
  • United Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Compsych

Even if your insurer isn't on the list, we might still accept it. Use the insurance eligibility checker in our online assessment to learn more.

Can I get an estimate of my visit cost?

The best way to get a detailed estimate of your cost is to contact your insurance company directly, since your cost will depend on the details of your insurance.  

For some, it’s just a co-pay. If you have an unmet deductible it could be more.  

Call the number on your insurance card and ask about your plan’s coverage for outpatient psychiatric services.

How does Talkiatry compare to face-to-face treatment?

For most patients, Talkiatry treatment is just as effective as in-person psychiatry (American Psychiatric Association, 2021), and much more convenient. That said, we don’t currently provide treatment for schizophrenia, primary eating disorder treatment, or Medication Assisted Treatment for substance use disorders.

What if I don't want medication?

We want you to be comfortable with your care. As a practice we specialize in medication management. If you’re looking for treatment that doesn’t involve medication, your psychiatrist can discuss your options and provide referrals for other options, like talk therapy outside our practice.

What kind of treatment does Talkiatry provide?

At Talkiatry, we specialize in psychiatry, meaning the diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions. Your psychiatrist will meet with you virtually on a schedule you set together, devise a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and preferences, and work with you to adjust your plan as you meet your goals.

If your treatment plan includes medication, your psychiatrist will prescribe and manage it. If needed, your psychiatrist can also refer you to a Talkiatry therapist.

How do I know if Talkiatry can help me?

If you don’t know your diagnosis, you might be confused about whether we can help. Talkiatry is best for people who are struggling with mild or moderate mental health issues that are getting in the way of day-to-day life. We likely aren’t a good fit for people with severe symptoms requiring in-person supervision.

Take our online assessment to find out if Talkiatry is right for your needs.

About
Austin Lin, MD

Dr. Austin Lin is a double board-certified adult and addiction psychiatrist who has been in practice for over 9 years. At the center of Dr. Lin’s clinical approach is a strong emphasis on establishing trust and using a collaborative approach to help patients develop an individualized and cohesive plan so that they are able to achieve their goals.

Dr. Lin's practice focuses on medication management. Typically, he offers this in conjunction with supportive therapy, motivational interviewing, and/or cognitive behavioral therapy in 30-minute follow-up visits. Occasionally, Dr. Lin may recommend that additional therapy is needed and ask that you bring a therapist into your care team in order to provide the best outcome.

Dr. Lin received his medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine. He went on to complete his residency in psychiatry at Harvard South Shore, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, where he served as Chief Resident and earned his 360° Professionalism award. He then had additional training in Addiction Psychiatry through his fellowship at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. After completing training, Dr. Lin has worked as an Addiction Psychiatrist and Director of Adult Services in the Trauma and Resilience Center (TRC) at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). He specialized in treating patients with a history of depression, anxiety, trauma, and substance use disorders.

Dr. Lin has held an academic appointment at UTHealth, and he has spent his professional career supervising and teaching medical students and psychiatry residents.



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