Choosing a Mental Health Professional That’s Right For You!

Published on December 17, 2020

2020 is almost over, and it hasn’t been kind to our mental health at all. With a global pandemic, the fight to end racism, and a volatile election season, folx (both youth and adults) have been struggling to stay mentally healthy.

When the pandemic first hit and California began putting out shelter in place orders, we put out a series talking about how to cope and what you can do to stay mentally healthy (which you can find here). These strategies do help, but what can we, or our youth, do when we need more than just exercising, meditation, or self-care? That is where a mental health professional can come into play.

But, how do we know which mental health professional is right for us, our family, or for our youth?

This guide is for anyone who’s looking to reach out to a mental health professional (Therapist, Psychiatrist, Life Coach, etc.) and some helpful tips on how to pick the right one.

Choosing a mental health professional for you, your family, or your youth is the most important step in the process of becoming and maintaining mental wellness. These are folx who you will be trusting to hear you and help you along in your journey. Even though most of California is sheltering in place, doesn’t mean that you do not have access to mental health professionals, most therapists, psychiatrists, Life Coaches, have begun switching their services from face to face appointments to over the phone or via video calls and some can even help via Text! And a lot of mental health professionals even work on a “sliding-scale” payment structure, making access to mental health care even more affordable and available to almost everyone.

Where and how can I find a Mental Health Professional in my area?

There are many websites that can help you find mental health professionals and services based on your location! A few that we highly recommend for anyone to use is:


These three websites allow you to plug In your location information and see who are mental health professionals in your area (with the exception of Betterhelp which matches you to a mental health professional that you can reach via text and not necessarily with someone from your area). These websites help you see who your mental health professionals are, what they specialize in, what they can help you with, how to get a hold of them, what insurance they take, and more! This can help you narrow the search from a few hundred Mental Health Professionals in your area to the 10-15 best mental health professionals for you.

What should I be looking for?

There are a lot of important factors when it comes to choosing a Mental Health Professional that’s right for you. Gender, sexual orientation, cultural background, how and what they look like in their profile image, are all important factors to choosing someone you’ll be trusting with your mental health. You want to pick someone who can relate to you and your specific background and needs, and not all Mental Health Professionals are going to be able to relate to you as well as others. Look for a professional that could be a relatable match to you, your family, or your youth, check out their profile picture, analyze what they look like and how they present themselves. This can help narrow the search even greater making the process even easier!

After searching, analyzing, and finding mental health professionals that could be a great match for you, now is the time to reach out to them and schedule a meeting! Usually the initial meetings are free and are a way for you to meet (and interview) your potential Mental Health Professional, to solidify if this person can help you in your journey to mental wellness. Make the most of your meeting by getting to know the Mental Health Professional, ask questions like:

  • Why they became a mental health professional?
  • What their therapeutic orientation is and why? What that means for their work with you and what that work would look like going forward.
  • If there are any cultural aspects to you, your family, or your youth ask your Mental Health Professional if they have any understanding or knowledge or experience.

These are great questions to start because they can help you understand how your mental health professional is going to help you during your actual paid sessions. If you like what they have to say and their answers to your questions, then great! You’re even closer to finding a Mental Health Professional that’s right for you, if not, that’s okay too, the search continues. It’s also important to notice how you feel when talking to them, do you feel comfortable? Do you feel heard? Do you feel like they understand where you’re coming from and can help you build strategies to cope with whatever you’re dealing with? Remember to listen to yourself and follow what feels right.

Finding a mental health professional is a process and I hope this guide has helped ease your mind on finding a mental health professional, if you’re in crisis or need help finding mental health resources in your area feel free to reach out to the California Youth Crisis Line via text or phone at 800-843-5200 or via chat at We’re available 24/7 (even during the holidays) and would gladly help you, your family, or your youth.

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