Guide to Finding Mental Health Professionals in Philadelphia
Philadelphia is also known as the City of Brotherly Love. It is rich in history and draws tourists year-round to view attractions such at the Liberty Bell, the Rocky Statue and of course the opportunity to taste a famous Philly Cheese Steak. However, to live in Philadelphia can be an entirely different experience. With social problems such as low incomes and poverty, homelessness and substance abuse, Philadelphia’s citizens often face an uphill challenge.
Philadelphia’s population earns incomes that are less than the national average. The city has a Cost of Living Index of 79.4, which while less than New York, it is greater than cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami. The result is a poverty rate almost twice that of the United States as a whole.
The disparity between incomes and housing prices causes many people to rely on shelters and have either chronic or recurring homelessness. Last year about 15,000 experienced homelessness. And in 2010 on any given night, 26% of all sheltered persons who were homeless has a severe mental illness. 35% had issues with chronic substance use. Further limited access to food, medicine and healthcare continue to be barriers for Philadelphia’s at-risk population.
With incomes low and living expenses high, making ends meet in Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love, may be, well a bit unfathomable. Add to that a climate that is cloudy or overcast seven and a half months out of the year and you have the recipe for depression, seasonal affect disorder, anxiety and substance abuse. Also, Philly has one of the highest drug overdose rates in the United States.
Whether you’ve experienced the stress of a recent move to the area or you have lived here for years, you may not know where to turn for help when you are feeling uneasy or out of control. A good resource about obtaining mental health care opportunities is the “Quiz to Find Help” by Mental Health America. When you’ve decided to seek help, knowing what resources are available and where to start can be tricky. Answer the questions in the quiz to help you figure out your options for getting help. There are over 300 mental health and substance abuse treatment centers within the Philadelphia area.
Not everyone knows what they are looking for when it comes to finding a therapist. Some may have previous experiences that guide them in developing a preference for one type or another. Others have never taken advantage of counseling as a type of recovery and will therefore need to lean the base goals of therapy and the therapist themselves. Just remember, your health and well-being should be at the center of every encounter, time after time.
Your health insurance representative will be able to guide you to a provider who accept your insurance as well as provide alternatives should that recommendation not work out. Then you should look for a Philadelphia mental health professional who is near you and has hours that coincide with your schedule. This will make getting in to see them much easier on you. Trying to make it to an awkward appointment time or place almost always puts an insurmountable hurtle in place. Many providers offer evening or Saturday hours. Take advantage of those offerings.
Our therapist directory was created to help you in your search for the best therapist for you. It contains providers who are trusted professional in Philadelphia and are familiar with the specific challenges the city presents.
One final note. After you decide on a provider, spend some time thinking about your sleep routine, eating habits and your general mood. Perhaps start a log to keep daily information on these subjects. This will likely be a topic of discussion at your first visit and having a clear picture will make it easy to answer any questions your provider might ask.