Mental Health Information

If you are wondering whether you need to seek help from a psychologist, this information may help you in making that decision. There are many mental health information resources available on the internet. Listed below are some links to resources from organizations that provide trustworthy, high quality information. We will be adding to these lists on a regular basis.

Links to general information about psychology and mental health

American Psychological Association Help Center        
American Psychological Association
National Institute of Mental Health
Mental Health America

Links to information about specific mental health disorders, topics or issues

Sleep disorders - National Sleep Foundation
Eating Disorders - National Eating Disorders Association
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) - Obsessive Compulsive Foundation
ADD/ADHD - Children and Adults with Attention/Hyperactivity Disorder
Bipolar Disorder - Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Depression - Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

What do psychologists do? 

Psychologists are trained to help people cope more effectively with life problems, using techniques based on best available research, skills and experience and taking into account the person's (or organization's) unique values, goals and circumstances. While the majority of licensed psychologists provide mental health services, not all psychological services are "healthcare". Some forensic work (dealing with the court system), as well as consulting with businesses or other organizations, are psychological services that are not healthcare. 

Wisconsin psychologists conduct research, perform psychological testing, and evaluate and treat a full range of behavioral, emotional and psychological challenges. They diagnose mental disorders and coordinate the care of their patients in both outpatient and hospital settings.

In addition to conducting individual and group therapy with adults, adolescents and children, psychologists are involved in many other areas of work. They coach clients to improve their communications skills and to increase their productivity and job satisfaction. They work with athletes, actors and musicians to develop their concentration, reduce anxiety and enhance their performance. They may have advanced training that prepares them to provide specialized services such as evaluating and treating stroke patients, assisting patients in management of chronic pain, and providing expert testimony to our judicial system, offering guidance to the courts. Psychologists who consult with businesses may help them provide a psychologically healthy workplace for their employees.

How do I know when to see a psychologist?

If you feel:
          • helpless
          • sad
          • nervous
          • stressed
          • angry
          • depressed
          • overwhelmed

If you:
          • notice significant changes in your mood or behavior
          • wish your life were more satisfying
          • find that making important decisions has become very difficult
          • find that you are relying on destructive ways to cope  
                    (food, alcohol or other drugs, procrastination)

If your child or teen is:
          • angry
          • irritable
          • withdrawn
          • non-communicative

If your family relationships are:
          • difficult because family members can't effectively communicate with each other
          • stressful because you and your spouse/partner are experiencing a difficult time
          • potentially dangerous because of the threat of violence in the home

How does therapy work?

Therapy works by helping you look objectively at behaviors, feelings and thoughts in situations which you find problematic. It helps you to learn more effective ways to deal with those situations.

Therapy is a collaborative effort. You and your psychologist will identify your goals -- what you want to have happen -- and agree on how you'll know when you are making progress. Your psychologist will talk with you about the length of time it may take to help you see changes.

Progress and change can happen. Nine out of ten Americans surveyed by Consumer Reports said that their previous experiences with psychotherapy had helped them. And, in another recent major national study, half of the clients studied were making improvement after eight sessions of therapy, 75% after six months of therapy.

What about confidentiality?

Your privacy is important to you and will be important to your psychologist. All members of the Wisconsin Psychological Association subscribe to a Code of Ethics that requires strict efforts to maintain client confidentiality. Legal responsibilities for maintaining confidentiality vary somewhat by state but are also regulated by some federal laws. The few exceptions to preserving confidentiality are most often related to situations in which there may be child abuse or danger of violence to yourself or others. We encourage you to discuss questions of confidentiality with your psychologist at any time before, during or following treatment.

How should I evaluate my insurance coverage for psychological services?

  • Call your insurance plan representative to find out exactly what is covered --  outpatient therapy, inpatient treatment, etc -- and what level of coverage you have.

  • Ask about copayments, deductibles and annual or lifetime maximums. Under  state and federal "parity" laws, terms and conditions of mental health  coverage should be no more limited than those for general medical coverage.

  • Ask who determines how many treatment sessions will be covered and  how/when that decision is made. (Prior authorization is a common  requirement.)

  • Ask what you can do if your coverage is denied or cut short

  • Find out if there is a group of providers (a "network" or "panel") that you  must choose from, or if you can choose any qualified provider. If you  can choose any qualified provider, find out what credentials (license  and degree) the provider must have.

What if you don't have insurance coverage, or if the coverage is inadequate?

You can talk with the benefits or human resource manager at your place of employment. Let that person know that you believe mental health services are important and that you are concerned that you have limited or no coverage. If you belong to a union, you can talk to your union leaders. If you are unemployed, contact the Wisconsin Department of Health Services or get in touch with your local Social Services Department.