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seattledave, January 15,  2020  1:58pm EST

Finding Mental Health Providers

Hi guys... I know this isn't exactly a heart attack issue. But I was wondering how the rest of you approach finding a mental health care provider and the mental health aspect of your recovery.

After 4 yrs since my initial ha, my medical health has gotten much better;  I'm going to the Y a few times a week and struggling to stay active in other areas. I've gotten my meds down to a reasonable minimum (side effects). And I think i try to practice mindfulness and meditation, though probably not as well as I could.  But the mental part of my recovery isn't making the progress I'd hoped for.  A big part of the problem is finding a provider who's a good fit.  My medical Dr's refer me to my insurance company for a referral, and then they refer me to their web site for a list of providers "in network"; take your pick, and apparently my pickers broke. Anyway.. It hasn't been very successful process for me; so far 4 different providers in 4 yrs.  I've also been referred to the Phycology Today website but from what I've seen so far, most are 'out of network'. Again, an insurance issue.

So I was wondering how others go about it - Am I doing it wrong ?  Are my expectations unrealistic ?  Are others frustrated too ? What's been your experiences.  And because of the inherent stigma with mental health issues it's already a hard topic to discuss 

It's just that I've come to realize that, for me, if the head ain't right, it's hard to fully  appreciate the physical medical improvements.  So I keep trying and asking questions. Don't know what else to do.  And I see posts from others struggling just to find medical Dr's they're comfortable with, so I realize my dilemma isn't limited to mental health.

Your thoughts please.



7 Replies
  • Mb120918
    Mb120918, January 15,  2020  2:52pm EST

    Hi seattledave,

    Sorry you are going through this.  What I try to do (sometimes it works) is plug the approved dr.s name into the Google engine and look for reviews.  They come up on a few sites. Therapists are trickier because you have to click with them.  I wish we could have group meetings with others, rather than a shrink.  I don't think they can help unless they have gone  through the same thing. Hope you find help soon.  Also, maybe look towards a community center they have programs.  Good luck!


  • JamesPL
    JamesPL, January 15,  2020  8:39pm EST

    Hi Dave,

    I saw two therapists that were recomended to me by my insurance company. I didn't see them in person but online via skype type sessions. I don't know if that makes a difference in finding a therapist. One of the most important tips I got from them was how to reduce stress in my life. In fact much of the sessions were focused on that as that was what I apparently was emphasizing in my discussions with them. I found them to be very helpful in my being to handle what I should do going forward. I think many of us struggle with not only the fear of having been diagnosed with heart disease, but how to approach life afterward. Therapy helped with that. I happened to have searched for online therapists after your post and there seem to be many available. Perhaps this could be an avenue for you.

    Good luck!


  • EMON1
    EMON1, January 15,  2020  9:13pm EST

    Seattle - Good topic, but a tough one. I'm not even sure, (short of not having a HA in the 1st place), it's possible anyone can 'completely' not accept that the 'psychological' effects aren't just as real and permenant a part of the event as the damage to the heart. Like cardiac rehab doesn't 'fix' the damaged heart, counseling should probably be looked at as learning to 'live with' the bouts of emotional damage rather than expecting it will 'magically' disappear, (any more than we'll grow a new heart .... maybe some day ....)

    While the physical damage/recovery/etc from HA varies from person to person, I see no reason why that shouldn't apply to the psychological damage as well. [People often forget ALL MEDICINE IS A PRACTICE not an exact science.]  You try something, than you try something else. What works for some doesn't work for others. I do agree with Mary, it might be hard to find a 'good fit' with a shrink. (Maybe one who deals with PTSD? Not saying that is what it is!)

    I openly admit I have plenty of 'adjustment issues' myself, many of us do, and we all know it can be an awful struggle. I can speak the words, (but I still haven't mastered it), sometimes we have to get out of OUR heads and be thankful that we are still better off than those who struggle more. It's easy to say, hard to practice, and selfish to ignore.

    Sorry to ramble on. I truely hope you at least find 'moments' of relief. Much luck!

  • Johnlynk
    Johnlynk, January 17,  2020  10:25am EST

    Dave, you have touched on a huge topic that people with our experience just weren't prepared for.  Even though I felt the worst in my like I knew that I could take care of the physical, nutrional, and medication portion on my heart disease.  Never even thought that mental would be a part of this.  It has turned out to be the toughest for sure.  A very underlooked aspect of heart disease and probably other medical issues is my guess.  I can only tell you what I did and I feel very fortunate and lucky it has worked out thus far.  I checked with insurance to see what they would pay for in the mental health area.  i.e. what hospitals, faciliities, doctors, meds.  Did this before I even started looking.  Found a mental health center.  Made a call.  They had me come in and fill out paperwork.  I sat down with a case advisor to figure out if I was having depression, anxiety, or anything else to properly place me with someone.  They didn't have anyone specific to heart disease but did have someone experienced in chronic illness, pain, etc.  She has been great for me.  I was diagnosed with anxiety over the other things and that has greatly reduced since I have been seeing her.  I still have to work on it as well, but just the assurance of knowing that I will have an opportunity to meet with her a couple of times a month seems to really help me.  I hope this helps at least a little.  Please don't forget that you are not alone on this whatsoever.  A lot of us have at least some sort of mental difficulties in going through this.  It is more of the norm than not I have learned in these past two years since I had mine.  The other thing is to see if their are any support groups in your area that are in person.  AHA, Mended Hearts, or maybe something in a coffee shop out there.  Little humor.  I wish you peace of mind brother.  I work out a lot, do 5k's and yoga to also occupy my mind.

    Peace man,


  • AHAASAKatie
    AHAASAKatie, January 17,  2020  10:29am EST

    This is a great topic! I was lucky enough to have a good relationship with my daughter's therapist and worked with her after my event. My suggestion would be to ask close friends and/or family for their referrals? Finding a good therapist is hard, I think. And it is not fair that you can't really interview them first, like a free coffee date or something to decide if you are comfortable investing the money in working with them. 

    Not sure if I was much help, but thanks for starting this discussion. Best Katie

  • seattledave
    seattledave, January 22,  2020  11:29am EST

    Reading the responses (thank you), one comment jumped out... reminded me of something that's been a stone in my shoe...

    ALL MEDICINE IS A PRACTICE...  But what is medicine and what isn't ?

    Anyone ever notice that a doctor of psychiatry or psychology refers to the people they treat as "patients".  Whereas a typical therapist (a master's degree accredited practitioner) refers to the people they see as "clients".  Patient -vs- client.  Why the difference ?

    I've been asking the question to both my medical and mental health providers. No one seems to know, nor do they attempt to speculate. Curious 

    I suppose It doesn't really matter except..  It was suggested to me that it's because typical MA accredited therapists are not MEDICAL health providers.  Though paid as part of my health insurance, they are not medical practitioners;  more like life coaches or life counselors.  This bothered me because it makes me feel as though the mental health services have been misrepresented to me. I thought my mental health was a part of my medical health.  But maybe not..  Seems there's a gray area there, and I'm uncomfortable with it. Certainly explains why my pcp doesn't provide referrals to MA practitioners, only Dr's. And the Dr's don't provide therapy anymore. Just meds.

    I want to be considered a patient. My mental state has a whole lot to do with my medical condition.  As a client, I've had good barbers who listened well and offered sound advice, if ya get my drift...   

    An observation offered... Since I started going to the Y (couple times a week min) since last September, my depression and anxiety has diminished quite a bit. Though some days it's a real struggle to motivate.  The side effects of this are lower blood pressure, some weight loss and aches and pains.

    I'd still like to have someone to talk to about my stinking thinking... but the nature of the relationship has shifted for me, because of this question at hand.  Hope this makes sense to someone besides me.

    Again, thanks for the feedback and comments. Always appreciated.




  • Mb120918
    Mb120918, January 22,  2020  2:34pm EST

    Hi David,

    I agree with you totally.  This is why I suggested the community center.  I go there once a week for a 3 hrs. Watercolor painting class.  I made friends, we paint together and have great conversations.  A few if them have medical problems that we all discuss.  FUN GROUP THERAPY.  They have many different programs.  So does the library.  


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