Can I Go To Urgent Care For Mental Health Treatment?

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Mental health issues are incredibly common yet often stigmatized and misunderstood. Many people deal with conditions like anxiety, depression, PTSD, or bipolar disorder at some point. If you’ve been struggling with difficult emotions or worrisome thoughts, know you’re not alone, and treatment options are available, including visiting an urgent care center.

Urgent care clinics employ licensed professionals who can evaluate your symptoms, provide a diagnosis, and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. They have experience helping people from all walks of life with various mental health concerns, from mild to moderate.

During your visit, a doctor or nurse practitioner will discuss your medical and mental health history, current challenges, and the severity of your symptoms. Based on their assessment, they may prescribe medication or refer you to a psychiatrist or counselor for follow-up.

Can I Go To Urgent Care For Mental Health?

Yes, you can go to an urgent care center for mental health concerns. Urgent care clinics employ licensed medical professionals like physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants qualified to evaluate and treat many common mental health issues.

Some signs it may be a good idea to visit urgent care for mental health include:

  • Feeling extremely sad, anxious, or irritable for over a few weeks.
  • Difficulty sleeping or changes in appetite.
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions.
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or others.

The provider will evaluate your symptoms, medical history, and overall health at the urgent care center. They may order blood tests or other screenings to check for underlying conditions. Based on their assessment, the provider will determine the best course of treatment, which could include:

  • Medication: They may prescribe anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, or other medication to help stabilize your mood and reduce symptoms.
  • Therapy: They may refer you to a therapist or counselor for talk therapy like CBT. Some clinics even have therapists on staff.
  • Hospitalization: They may recommend inpatient hospitalization if you are in crisis or at risk of harming yourself.
  • Follow-up care: They recommend following up with your primary doctor or a mental health specialist.

So if you or someone you know is struggling with symptoms of depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue, don’t hesitate to visit your nearest urgent care center. They can provide the care and treatment you need to start feeling better immediately.

What are The Different Urgent Care Mental Health Options?

When it comes to urgent care and mental health, you have a few options to choose from, depending on your needs.

Telehealth

Telehealth refers to virtual doctor visits over the phone or video chat. Many urgent care centers and mental health professionals now offer telehealth services for initial evaluations, medication management, and therapy sessions. Telehealth is convenient since you can have an appointment from anywhere, but there may be better options for crisis situations.

Walk-in Clinic

Some walk-in clinics have mental health professionals on staff or provide telehealth access to them. You can get an initial evaluation and diagnosis, medication, and referrals to local therapists or psychiatrists at a walk-in clinic. While convenient, walk-in clinics typically don’t provide intensive long-term treatment. They aim to stabilize you and get you proper follow-up care.

Emergency Room

For mental health crises like suicidal thoughts, psychosis, or severe depression, the emergency room may be your best option. ER, doctors can evaluate your condition, provide any necessary medication or treatment, and refer you to inpatient psychiatric care. ER, visits often involve long waits, but the ER is equipped to provide urgent psychiatric help for life-threatening situations.

Hotlines

There are several helplines and warmlines available for mental health support in the United States:

  1. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) This hotline provides free, confidential support for individuals in distress and those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts.
  2. Crisis Text Line: Text “HELLO” to 741741 You can text this number to connect with a trained crisis counselor who can offer support and guidance.
  3. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline: 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264) NAMI offers information, resources, and support for individuals living with mental health conditions and their families.
  4. Warmline Directory: Various numbers available A warmline is a peer-run service offering non-crisis support and a listening ear. You can find warmline numbers specific to your state or region through directories like the “Warmline Directory” or local mental health organizations.
  5. TrevorLifeline (for LGBTQ+ Youth): 1-866-488-7386 This helpline provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ young people.
  6. Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1 for veterans) This helpline provides support for veterans and their families, connecting them with trained responders familiar with military culture.

Read more: Mental Health Retreats: Insurance Coverage, Types, & Benefits

Mental Health Symptoms That Can Be Treated With Urgent Care

Depending on the severity, mental health symptoms can often be treated at an urgent care center. Some conditions that urgent care doctors are equipped to diagnose and provide initial treatment for include:

  • Anxiety and panic attacks. If you’re experiencing a panic attack for the first time or your anxiety feels unmanageable, urgent care can help determine if additional intervention is needed and provide medication or resources for coping strategies.
  • Depression. While depression is usually managed by a primary doctor or mental health professional, urgent care can be a good first step if you’re having suicidal thoughts or need medication adjustments. 
  • Insomnia. If you’re struggling with a severe lack of sleep for more than a few days, an urgent care doctor can evaluate the cause, check for any underlying conditions, and prescribe medication to help you get the rest you need.
  • Substance abuse. Urgent care can administer medication and IV fluids for withdrawal symptoms and refer you to detox and rehab programs. They can also test for drug levels and other health issues related to substance abuse.
  • Eating disorders. An urgent care doctor may examine you for signs of malnutrition or other medical issues related to anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. They can recommend nutrition plans, refer you to counseling, or admit you to the hospital in severe cases.

While not equipped for long-term mental health management, visiting an urgent care center can be an important first step in getting relief from pressing symptoms and connecting with additional resources. Don’t hesitate to seek help immediately if your condition feels unbearable or life-threatening.

What Mental Health Services Do Urgent Care Centers Provide?

Urgent care centers can provide some basic mental health services to help stabilize you in a crisis until you can see a therapist or mental health professional.

Evaluation and risk assessment

The staff at an urgent care center are trained to evaluate your symptoms, assess your risk level, and determine the appropriate next steps. They can recognize conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. If you are in danger of hurting yourself or others, they will immediately get you proper emergency care.

Crisis Intervention And Referral

Urgent care doctors and nurses can help calm and stabilize you during a mental health crisis. They can provide resources for emergency psychiatric care if needed. They will also refer you to a mental health professional like a psychiatrist or counselor for follow-up treatment and long-term management of your condition.

Basic Counseling And Medication Management

Some urgent care centers have counselors and psychiatrists who can provide initial counseling and medication management to help you feel better until you can see your regular mental health provider. The medications and dosages they prescribe will be limited to what is necessary to stabilize your condition.

Patient Education

The staff can educate you about your condition, coping strategies, and available resources. After leaving the urgent care center, they will advise you on the next steps to improve your mental health and well-being. Patient education is key to effective crisis intervention and ongoing treatment.

Urgent care is not meant to replace care from your mental health professionals or psychiatrist. But in a crisis, they can provide temporary relief until you get the specialized care you need. Don’t hesitate to go to an urgent care center if you’re experiencing distressing mental health symptoms and need help immediately.

Read more: What To Do If You’re Mentally Checked Out

Contact Launch Centers For Mental Health Treatment

Many urgent care centers now have specially trained staff and resources to assist with mental health emergencies. They can evaluate your symptoms, provide diagnosis and short-term treatment. This includes administering emergency medication or sedation and stabilizing any medical issues. They may also refer you to nearby mental health facilities for follow-up care.

However, if you are interested in long-term mental health treatment with more structure and planning, contact Launch Centers. Our mental health treatment center in Los Angeles is the perfect place to work on your mental health, explore disorders and symptoms, and find true wellness. Call today, and one of our admissions agents can help you get started.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

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Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

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Eric Chaghouri, MD

Psychiatrist

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Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

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