24/7 HELP

Psychological Health Resource Center
For Psychological Health Information and Resources
866-966-1020
Live Chat
For Crisis Intervention for Service Members, Veterans and Families
800-273-8255
Press "1"
Learn more about the Real Warriors app
Download the Real Warriors app at the Apple App Store
realstrength.realwarriors.net
Campaign Materials
Message Boards
Average: 5 (7 votes)

Discussing your Psychological Health with a Provider

Service Member talking to another person

Source: U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Cohen A. Young/Released

Making a plan to talk with a health care provider about your psychological health concerns is an important step toward improving your overall health. If you have been through trauma or other challenges, it may be hard to talk about your experiences. A health care provider can help you understand your feelings and maintain your mental fitness. This article offers useful tips to help you choose a provider, prepare for your first appointment and make the most of your visit.

Choosing a Provider

Finding a health care professional that you are comfortable with can help you have a positive experience. If the first provider you meet is not right for you, keep looking until you find someone you feel comfortable connecting with. A psychological health care professional should:

  • Respect you and your feelings
  • Allow you to express yourself
  • Understand that you may need time before you are ready to talk
  • Talk to you about a plan to help address your concerns

Preparing for Your First Appointment

Keep track of any feelings or symptoms you experience with as much detail as possible, such as:

  • How long the feeling or symptom lasts
  • Triggers-such as events, experiences or thoughts- that may make your symptoms worse and what you did to make them better

List your medical information. Include any:

  • Physical or psychological concerns
  • Names and dosage of medications or supplements

Write down important personal information, including:

  • Family members with psychological health concerns
  • Major life changes
  • Traumatic events

During Your Appointment

Answer Questions Honestly

You may be asked:

  • Have you ever experienced a traumatic event? How long ago?
  • Are you always on alert or easily scared? At what times?
  • Do you often feel irritable or angry? How often?
  • Do you drink alcohol or misuse substances? How often?
  • Do you have any thoughts about harming yourself or ending your life?

Ask Questions

Examples include:

  • What‘s causing my symptoms?
  • What treatments, if any, do you recommend?
  • Where can I find more information about coping with my symptoms?

Bring Someone You Trust or Take Notes

Your provider may give you a lot of information during your first appointment. You may feel overwhelmed by everything you learned, which can make it hard to remember all that was said. Ask a family member or friend to go with you or plan to take notes to keep track of all the information you receive.

Talking about your psychological health can be challenging, but getting help early can improve your chances of a full recovery. Reaching out is a sign of strength and talking with a professional can help. If you or a loved one needs additional support, contact the Psychological Health Resource Center to speak confidentially with trained health resource consultants 24/7 by calling 866-966-1020, by using the Real Warriors Live Chat or by emailing resources@dcoeoutreach.org. Watch video profiles to learn about service members who have successfully used the Military Health System and other psychological health resources for support.

PDF formatted documents require Adobe's free Acrobat Reader software. If you do not already have this software installed on your computer, please download it from Adobe's Website.