It is not uncommon to experience some degree of unease or trepidation when calling a treatment facility for the first time. With May being Mental Health Awareness month, the goal of this article is to help you understand the initial intake process and alleviate the uncertainty about what to expect during that first call. The initial phone call can come across as somewhat routine, however, it will set the foundation for the rest of your treatment.
Here are a few points to help prepare you:
Set aside time to speak with the intake personnel. Wherever you may call, there will be a series of questions required to ensure that your call is directed to the appropriate clinician. Make sure you set aside at least ten minutes, free of interruptions.
Most individuals can easily provide general information about symptoms. However, to best evaluate your needs, you will also need to provide key dates and names. For example, knowing the time frame of when symptoms initially presented themselves and how they have changed over time, the names and dates of medication(s) taken, names of previous therapists or psychiatrists, and dates of treatment or hospitalizations are all important pieces of information. These details are extremely helpful in allowing the clinician to gather a full clinical picture and best make recommendations tailored to your needs.
When calling in about a loved one, our desire to ease their suffering can cause us to become extremely passionate. Your mind may be filled with stories and situations that you may feel should be discussed. However, when speaking with the intake personnel, being brief and concise will help ensure that the most important details are emphasized. A clear and detailed description of your loved one’s symptoms, observable behaviors, and any noticeable triggers are key details to present during the first call. Your assigned clinician will later request additional examples and further elaboration.
A great deal of information will be exchanged during your initial call and the intake personnel will be more than happy to answer your questions at this time. Be sure to have your questions written down, especially if you have any that require consultation with a licensed clinician. You may need to wait to speak to a clinician before these questions can be answered. As an example, RFC offers a complimentary 30 minute phone consultation with a licensed clinician after completing the initial phone intake. During this scheduled call, the clinician will be able to address all of your treatment questions and concerns.
The unknown can be a little scary; the hope is that these tips will help to take away some of the mystery behind the initial call. When you are ready to take that first step, gather the information you need, and give a call to your chosen treatment facility to begin laying the foundation for your mental wellness.