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Mental Illness Guide: Care, Support, and Education
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How do I know if I have a good doctor? 

A good doctor should know about the problem you want help with, be available to you, and make you feel comfortable.

The doctor needs to know about your problem.

You will want the person that you are seeing for talk therapy or medicines to know about serious mental illness  Listed below are several things you might do to find out what your doctors know about serious mental illness 

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Ask for names from other doctors, family, friends or other people who also have serious mental illness

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Search the Internet for names of people who focus on working with people who have serious mental illness

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Ask your doctors if they have worked with people who have schizophrenia before.  It is always okay to ask doctors about their training.

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If you are part of a program just for people with mental illness (like Colorado Recovery), then you can be  sure that the people working with you have training and experience in the areas you are having problems with. 

The doctor needs to be available to you.

You want a good doctor who is practical for you to visit and pay.  You will have to consider:

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How much do the sessions cost and can you afford them?

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Does your insurance cover the cost of seeing the doctor?  If so, for how many sessions?

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If you cannot afford the fee, will the doctor give you a reduced fee?

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Is the doctor’s office close enough for you to get to your appointments?

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Does the doctor have appointments at times you can come?

The doctor needs to make you feel comfortable.

Feeling comfortable around people is often especially hard for the person with serious mental illness  Be sure to give the doctor a fair chance.  It takes most people at least several sessions to warm up to the doctor. You may want to ask your doctors if they are willing to work with other doctors and mental health workers involved in your care. This allows your treatment team to do its best work for you.