How Long Does it Take to See a Psychiatrist? -Receiving Support You Need

How Long Does it Take to See a Psychiatrist? -Receiving Support You Need

How Long Does it Take to See a Psychiatrist

To go to psychotherapy is never an easy choice, but sometimes it is an immediate challenge and so necessary.

It is extremely important not to let your symptoms go untreated.

People often wait too long and this can leave many wondering when they will receive the support they need.

This article clarifies the typical wait times and suggests strategies to manage them, making mental health care easier for everyone.

“Psychiatric treatment is not just about treating symptoms. It’s about helping you live a fulfilling and meaningful life.” – Dr. Andrew Gerber

How Common Is It to Be Put On a Psychiatrist Waitlist?

Psychiatrist Waitlist

Over the past few years, there has been a clear increase in the need for psychiatric health care in the US.

With this increased demand, in-person psychiatrists are busier than ever and often don’t have the time or resources to keep up with the increased patient load.

Therefore, it is fairly common for a psychiatrist to not accept new patients or to put new patients on a waitlist for the next opening.

How Long Can You Expect to Be on a Psychiatrist Waitlist?

mental health professional with patient

The time you spend on a waitlist to be seen by a psychiatrist can dramatically vary based on several different factors, including your geographic location, the type of care you need, and your insurance coverage.

The dynamics and business model of the particular clinic you choose will also play a role in how quickly you will be able to be seen.

Some small private practice psych offices may only have one or a few psychiatrists seeing patients, while other clinics have a more multidisciplinary approach, with a variety of mental health professionals, including therapists, social workers, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, in addition to physicians.

On average, you can expect to be on a waitlist for a few weeks or up to several months and even over a year in circumstances where your desired healthcare provider is in high demand.

Kind of Problem Advice Alternatives
Anxiety Seek therapy and practice relaxation techniques Exercise, meditation, support groups
Depression Seek therapy and consider medication Support groups, self-help books, lifestyle changes
Relationship Issues Seek couples therapy and practice communication skills Individual therapy, self-help books, support groups
Trauma Seek therapy and consider EMDR or other evidence-based treatments Support groups, self-care practices, mindfulness
Addiction Seek professional help, such as a rehab program or 12-step group Therapy, support groups, medication-assisted treatment
Eating Disorders Seek professional help, such as a therapist or dietitian Support groups, self-help books, meal planning apps

Unfortunately, it is not a rare case that being put on a waitlist for months can make your mental illness worse and lead to a more serious mental health condition. We suggest 4 alternatives.

4. Join a Self-Help Group

Self-Help Group

Connecting with others who are experiencing the same or similar issues can provide much-needed support.

Joining self-help groups gives a sense of community and support by connecting with others who are experiencing similar problems.

There are several resources available online, such as those offered through NAMI’s website.

“Psychotherapy is a private, confidential conversation that has nothing to do with the rest of the world.” – Aaron T. Beck, psychiatrist and pioneer of cognitive therapy.

3. Contact SAMHSA

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, also known as SAMHSA, is a program sponsored and run by the federal government that aims to help those who are suffering from substance abuse issues and various other mental health conditions.

They offer a hotline that is available 24/7, 365 days a year to offer help and resources for those who are experiencing substance abuse issues or other mental health conditions.

This service is confidential and provides information and resources on treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based resources.

Simply call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit their webpage if you or a family member need help.

“Therapy is not to ‘talk about’ things, but to change the person’s life, and to relieve suffering, such as depression, anxiety, or relationship problems.” – Albert Ellis, psychologist and developer of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT).

2. Call a Hotline

contact hotline

In addition to the SAMHSA hotline, there are additional hotlines that are available to help those in need of mental health services.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or self-harm behaviors, call 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Line.

This service is available any time or day of the year.

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.” – William James, philosopher and psychologist.

1. Opt For Telehealth


Telehealth has become a popular way to receive faster care for your mental health in recent years.

Opting for a telehealth provider allows you to receive the care you need from the convenience of your home, with shorter wait times and affordable options for those who do not have health insurance coverage.

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.” – Peter Drucker, management consultant and author.


What factors influence the wait time for a psychiatric appointment?
Key factors include the psychiatrist’s availability, insurance coverage, and the patient’s specific mental health needs.
Are there ways to reduce the wait time for a psychiatric appointment?
Exploring alternative care options, such as telepsychiatry, and seeking referrals can potentially reduce wait times.
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?
The main difference between the two is that a psychiatrist has trained as a medical doctor and can prescribe medication. A psychologist is not a medical doctor and can’t prescribe medication.
What are the 4 types of mental health?
Mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder) anxiety disorders. personality disorders. psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia)
Can a psychiatrist treat anxiety?
A psychiatrist can help you figure out what’s causing your anxiety, which will ultimately help to determine how to develop a treatment plan to address the problem


The mental health care system may not work for everyone, and different individuals may require different treatment approaches.

While medication can be helpful for some, it may not be the best option for everyone, and alternative treatments such as therapy and peer support should be considered.

Communication and understanding between the healthcare provider and the patient are crucial for effective treatment, and patients should be informed about the potential side effects of any medication prescribed.

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