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Finding a mental health provider during a pandemic

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Posted at 4:07 AM, Jan 15, 2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – It’s no secret that mental health services are in high demand now. In Hampton Roads, the search may be even more difficult for some after the sudden closure of Christian Psychotherapy Services, which treats thousands of clients.

Carmen Wolf, a therapist with Atlantic Family and Adolescent Therapy, says they are 99.9% at capacity; however, she wanted to offer advice so everyone who needs it can find quality care.

Wolf suggests finding a service that’s compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. This will ensure records remain confidential. She also recommends using a therapist who is fully licensed or is supervised by a licensed clinician.

Telehealth therapy over the phone or computer is very common now. Wolf says their practice is currently 100% telehealth, but some are still offering in-person appointments. When looking for a telehealth therapist, Wolf pointed out that the provider does not need to be in your city as long as they’re in the state.

“You could see anyone in the state of Virginia if you live in Virginia, so that can be something that’s convenient for clients,” Wolf said.

Regarding insurance, Wolf explained, “You don’t need a referral for mental health from 90% of the companies. You can just go and find someone who takes your insurance and see them. A lot of people seem to get confused, thinking they need to get a referral.”

She did point out that active duty military members are one exception to that rule.

Wolf describes an increased workload over the past six months.

“The rates of mental health issues are definitely increasing right now, especially with this isolation. We’re meant to be social creatures."

“Depression, it can come in many different ways. Depression can look a little confusing to some people. Some people get really snippy and angry when they’re depressed. Some people cry a lot. Some people lose the ability to concentrate.”

The information below was supplied by Carmen Wolf with Atlantic Family and Adolescent Therapy.

Resources to find therapists if you have insurance:

Psychologytoday.com - On psychologytoday.com, you can search by insurance type, presenting concern, location and more. They also have a search option for psychiatrists for medication management.

Your insurance website

For example: Optimahealth.com. You can search you plan for providers in you area.

Other various search engines: Goodtherapy.org, Seculartherapy.org, etc.

These may be specified by need or just not as common as the above resources.

If you do not have insurance and need low cost or free services:

Openpathcollective.org - This site offers individual therapy sessions between $30-$60 per session and couples/family sessions between $30-$80 per session.

Psychologytoday.com- You can also filter by lower cost and sliding scale on this site.

Local sites in Hampton Roads include:

Center for Child and Family Services - Hampton and Williamsburg

The Up Center - Norfolk

  • Website: theupcenter.org
  • Phone: 1-757-965-8638

This site offers sliding scale for those who need low cost services.

LGBT Life Center - Various locations in Norfolk and Hampton

This site provides services for those in the LGBTQ community and offers a sliding scale for those who need low-cost services.

Southeastern Virginia Health System - Various Locations

This location has sliding scale options.

Bacon Street Youth and Family Services - Various Locations

This site helps those who need low-cost services.

Jewish Family Services - Various locations

This site provides sliding scale for those who need low-cost services.

Hampton Roads Community Health Center - Various Locations

This site offers sliding scale for those who need low-cost services.

Oasis Clinical Counseling Services - Norfolk

This site has recently received a short term grant to provide free short-term services for Norfolk residents without insurance.

Peninsula Pastoral Counseling Center - Newport News

This site has various options for low-fee clients and is a faith-based site.

Norfolk Community Services Board - Norfolk

They offer a wide variety of mental health, developmental disability, substance use, as well as supportive housing and services to the homeless. The NCSB provides services to those with insurance coverage as well as providing services based on a sliding scale for those without coverage; please call to see if you qualify.

Understanding Providers Roles:

Psychiatrist:

Generally, a psychiatrist is someone you go to for medication prescribing and management. They can also provide therapy and psychological assessments. They are a medical doctor.

Psychologist:

They provide talk therapy and can provide psychological assessments for a variety of psychiatric concerns. They have a doctorate in psychology.

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT):

These are providers who can provide various forms of talk therapy and are trained in a systemic approach. Depending on their training, they can see families, couples, individuals and can hold groups. What they choose to specialize in is their personal choice, but the framework is based in systems theory, i.e., we all affect one another. Licensure in the state of Virginia requires a master’s degree to hold this title.

Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC):

These are providers who can provide various forms of talk therapy. Depending on their training, they can see individuals, couples, families and can hold groups. Licensure in the state of Virginia requires a master’s degree to hold this title.

Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW):

These are providers who can provide talk therapy and case management services depending on their setting. LCSWs are in a variety of settings, including hospitals, private practices, etc. Depending on their training, they can see individuals, couples, families and can hold groups. Licensure in the state of Virginia requires a master’s degree to hold this title.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner:

While these providers can provide psychotherapy, often they are utilized for medication prescribing and management. They have a nursing degree (BSN or MSN) and advanced training and credentialing in the field of mental health.

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