When it comes to mental health, getting a specific diagnosis is a pivotal step to getting effective treatment and support. However, if you find yourself wondering, “How can I get a mental health diagnosis?” know you’re not alone. At Plus by APN, we’re here for you every step of the way. By helping you understand the path toward getting a mental health diagnosis, we aim to inspire others to seek help when needed and advocate for a diagnosis that makes sense for your unique experiences.

Recognizing the Need for Mental Health Support

The first step to getting a mental health diagnosis often involves self-reflection. It takes courage to acknowledge persistent feelings of distress, changes in mood, or disruptions in daily functioning. However, by recognizing a need for support, we are actually empowering ourselves to take back control of our mental well-being.

It can be helpful to document any thoughts, emotions, or behavioral patterns that may provide crucial insights during the diagnostic process. Keeping a daily journal can be an effective way to hold yourself accountable, ensuring you are capturing the entire picture of your day-to-day challenges and experiences.

Getting Started – Finding Support

Of course, once you’ve identified a problem, you’ll want to work with a mental health professional to start the process of receiving an official diagnosis. You can initiate this process by getting a referral directly from your primary health physician. General practitioners can conduct initial assessments and discuss any concerns you’re having regarding your mental health symptoms.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to start with someone who specializes in the holistic treatment of mental health, you can start directly with Plus by APN. We can help verify your insurance coverage and design personalized treatment plans to meet your unique mental health needs.

What to Expect When Working With a Mental Health Professional

Licensed mental health professionals, including psychologists, counselors, and therapists, play a pivotal role in the diagnostic journey. These professionals are trained to conduct in-depth assessments, using interviews, questionnaires, and standardized tools to evaluate mental health symptoms. Establishing a therapeutic relationship can help foster a safe space for open communication and exploration.

However, it’s important to understand a couple of key things when working with a mental health professional. Every therapist has their own personality, and not every therapist’s personality may mesh well with yours. It’s important to recognize when you don’t feel comfortable with a mental health professional and how to go about finding someone new. It may take time to find the right fit, but it will be worth it once you have found someone you can trust.

Mental health professionals may not always give out the right diagnosis at first. As they get to know you more, their assessment may change. If at any point you don’t feel a diagnosis or treatment regime is resonating with you, make sure to speak up and advocate for yourself.

Psychiatric Evaluation – Collaboration with Psychiatrists

For more complex cases or when medication management may need to be considered, collaboration with a psychiatrist is essential. Psychiatrists and medical doctors specializing in the field of mental health, brain chemistry, and medications, conduct their own comprehensive evaluations to assist in the diagnostic process. These evaluations may involve discussions about personal and family history, current symptoms, and potential biological or environmental factors contributing to mental health concerns.

Specialized Assessments – Neuropsychological Testing

In certain cases, mental health professionals may recommend specialized assessments, such as neuropsychological testing. These evaluations can provide a more in-depth understanding of cognitive functioning, identifying specific strengths and challenges. They can be particularly useful in cases involving neurodevelopmental disorders – such as autism and intellectual disabilities – or complex and overlapping mental health diagnoses.

A Multidisciplinary Approach

In many instances, mental health concerns require a multidisciplinary approach. Collaborating with psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and other specialists as needed ensures a holistic understanding of your mental state and diagnosis. A team-based approach can help facilitate a more comprehensive plan tailored to your specific needs. Plus by APN employs a variety of mental health professionals to ensure the most accurate and encompassing diagnosis for your mental health concerns.

Patient Advocacy in the Diagnostic Process

Advocating for your needs throughout the diagnostic process can be an empowering experience. Seek a second opinion when necessary and become an active participant in your mental health care. No one knows you better than you. Openly communicate with your mental health team, asking questions as often as you have them, and engage in a collaborative decision-making process regarding your treatment plan. At the end of the day, it’s your life and mental well-being that’s at stake.

Staying Connected With Telehealth Care

Something worth mentioning is how much the evolution of telehealth services has revolutionized the mental health field as we know it. Virtual consultations with mental health professionals now allow individuals to seek assessments and diagnoses from the comfort of their own homes. Telehealth services can bridge geographical gaps, enhance convenience, and promote broader access to mental health care, overall. Here at Plus By APN, we offer a variety of telehealth services to better cater to your mental health needs.

After Diagnosis – Managing Mental Health Problems

If you’ve identified there’s a problem and taken steps to get help, you may be wondering what’s next. Addressing your mental health can be an extremely personal and complex process. There are many traditional and alternative approaches to consider when attempting to manage your diagnosis.

The important thing to remember is that things can and will get better with some time and therapeutic interventions. While mental health diagnoses cannot often be cured, people can learn to effectively manage their diagnoses and experience joy in their day-to-day lives.

Traditional Treatment Options

There are typically two traditional treatment options when it comes to managing a mental health diagnosis – medication and psychotherapy.

Medications for Mental Health

Medication plays a crucial role in the treatment of various mental health disorders, often working in conjunction with other therapeutic interventions. The following medications are some of the most commonly prescribed for mental health conditions.

  • Antidepressants: alleviates symptoms of depression and certain anxiety disorders; works by influencing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain
  • Antipsychotics: primarily used to manage symptoms of psychosis associated with conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; they act on dopamine receptors in the brain, helping to regulate the neurotransmitter imbalance associated with these disorders
  • Anxiolytics (anti-anxiety) and sedatives: prescribed to manage symptoms of anxiety disorders
  • Mood stabilizers: manage mood swings and stabilize manic or hypomanic episodes in individuals with bipolar disorder by regulating the excitability of neurons in the brain to prevent extremes in mood
  • Stimulants: commonly prescribed for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to enhance the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain and improve attention, focus, and impulse control

While medication can certainly be helpful and/or necessary for individuals experiencing mental health conditions, it isn’t always enough to effectively manage a mental health diagnosis. That is likely because mental health conditions are multifaceted, and pills that only address one of the potential factors in our overall mental state are not enough to change the trajectory of our entire well-being.

According to the CDC’s latest data, nearly 20% of Americans are experiencing some type of mental health condition. Of those 20%, about 16.5% are taking some type of medication to manage their diagnosis. Still, studies indicate that medications are often not always effective in managing a mental health diagnosis. Furthermore, increases in mental health conditions worldwide indicate an issue with the standard method of treatments.


According to Statistica, nearly half of the adult population in the United States received some sort of psychotherapy for their mental health in 2021. Additionally, research shows that about 75% of people who participate in psychotherapy report some form of benefit. When combined with psychotherapy, medication is shown to be more effective in patients experiencing mental health disease. While psychotherapy is a great option for people looking for help with managing their mental health disorder, it may still not provide enough relief for some.

What to Do When Therapy and Medication Aren’t Working

The good news is that the field of mental health has come a long way over the years. There are many different alternative treatment options for people looking for lasting relief and mental well-being. Some of these alternative therapies may include:

  • Ketamine-assisted therapy: administration of low-dose ketamine under the supervision of a mental health professional, leading to rapidly improved mental health symptoms, positive changes in neurochemistry, increased neuroplasticity, and enhanced mood regulation
  • Meditation and mindfulness: breathing, sound, visual, and mantra-related techniques utilized to enhance overall well-being; multiple studies have shown the potential benefits of mindfulness practices for mental health disorders
  • Deep TMS: a non-invasive technique using magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells within the prefrontal cortex of the brain with the potential to improve mood regulation
  • Animal therapy: multiple studies have demonstrated the positive impacts animal therapy can have on a person’s mental well-being
  • Neurofeedback: real-time monitoring of brain activity that can help relieve depression and improve a person’s ability to emotionally regulate
  • Acupuncture: an ancient Chinese practice that utilizes needles to pinpoint specific meridians on the body and increase blood and energy flow for improved mental well-being
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy: breathing pure oxygen within a pressurized room or chamber with the ability to alleviate depression and improve brain function
  • Stellate ganglion blocks: involves an injection of local anesthetic into the stellate ganglion – a bundle of nerves located at the back of the neck – with the ability to positively influence the sympathetic nervous system, offering relief from a multitude of mental health symptoms

Of course, there are many other alternative mental health treatments. The important thing to consider is finding alternative treatments with evidence-based research to complement traditional mental health care approaches.

At Plus by APN, we provide various evidence-based treatments that support optimal outcomes for clients with a wide range of mental health conditions. We aim to inspire health and wellness in mind and body, creating customized treatment plans for every individual.

Next Steps: Ongoing Monitoring and Adjustments Moving Forward

Understanding a mental health diagnosis and how to treat it is a dynamic process. It’s important to regularly monitor your mental well-being, stay engaged with mental health professionals, and be open to adjusting your treatment plan as necessary. Mental health is fluid, and ongoing collaboration with your care team ensures that interventions remain effective.

“How can I get a mental health diagnosis?” is a question that many individuals grapple with, and the journey is unique for each person. By initiating self-reflection, seeking professional guidance, and embracing a collaborative approach, you can navigate the path to understanding your mental health. Remember, a diagnosis is a tool for empowerment, guiding you toward tailored interventions to support you on your journey toward mental well-being. To get started, call 424.644.6486 or fill out our online contact form today.


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