How to See a Psychiatrist Immediately

Kristin Hall

Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Published 11/26/2022

Updated 11/27/2022

If you’re dealing with an urgent mental health issue, you might be wondering how to see a psychiatrist immediately.

Not clear on what this type of mental health professional does? Psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors. They either hold a doctor of medicine (MD) degree or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree. Once one of these medical degrees has been achieved, a person also has to complete their residency in psychiatry.

Psychiatry is all about preventing and treating behavioral disorders. This can include anxiety disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or mood disorders like bipolar disorder.

Psychiatric care is often part of a normal routine for someone with mental health concerns. Unfortunately, there are times when a crisis situation may occur and you need to figure out how to see a psychiatrist immediately.

Those with established mental health conditions aren’t the only people who may need to seek help from a psychiatrist quickly. Knowing when to see a psychiatrist can help you get the help you need as soon as possible.

So, how do you know if you need to seek out mental health services from a psychiatrist as quickly as possible? Here are some potential reasons or signs:

  • Your emotions are out of control and unmanageable

  • You’re in a rage spiral and can’t get out of it

  • You’re engaging in risky behavior

  • You have intense fear that won’t go away or are dealing with obsessive thinking

  • You’re dealing with an eating disorder

  • You are increasingly using substances as a way of coping

  • You’re having thoughts of self-harm

Essentially, if you’re having intense mental health issues, it’s a good idea to seek help from a medical professional. Read on to learn how to see a psychiatrist immediately.

online mental health assessment

your mental health journey starts here

If you know you need to seek mental health treatment from a psychiatrist, the next step is finding someone to see.

One way to do this is to ask anyone you can contact quickly for a recommendation. For example, you can call your primary care provider and ask them for a few names.

Your primary care provider may even be able to make a call to get you in faster. If you already see a psychologist, social worker or any other licensed mental health professional, you could ask them for a recommendation too.

Another option is to search online directories. For instance, the American Psychiatric Association has a searchable database. If you have medical insurance, you can also check the site for a list of psychiatrists covered by your plan.

If you really need to see someone quickly, you may need to reach out to a few people to see who has the earliest appointment.

What to Do If You Can’t See Someone In Person

Figuring out how to see a psychiatrist immediately can be tricky.

If you can’t find someone who can see you in person quickly, consider an online appointment. An online psychiatrist can do all the things an in-person mental health provider can do.

Worried it’s not as effective? Don’t be. A thorough review of telepsychiatry found that this online service can absolutely be effective and help people who have a mental disorder. It can also be more cost-effective than an in-person visit. 

The American Psychiatric Association allows you to search its database and filter by providers who offer telepsychiatry services.

Hers also offers online psychiatry services and appointments, which make it easy to see some quickly.

There are many things a psychiatrist can do to quickly help someone having a mental health crisis.

They can assess what’s going on with you and even order tests to confirm whether it’s a medical condition or something psychiatric.

While we touched on some of them above, specific conditions that a psychiatrist can treat are: 

A psychiatrist can also prescribe psychiatric medication. This is one of the major differences between a psychologist and a psychiatrist — the former cannot prescribe medication.

Types of medications a psychiatrist can prescribe include

That said, a psychiatrist doesn’t just prescribe medication. They can also provide forms of talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

In addition to this, some psychiatrists practice things like electroconvulsive treatment and transcranial magnetic stimulation. The latter leans on a magnetic field to impact brain activity and can be used to treat symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

If you’re seeing a psychiatrist because you’re in crisis, they’ll also be able to assess whether you’d be best served by checking into an in-patient treatment facility or the hospital. 

When to Call 911

When navigating difficult mental health circumstances, getting help as soon as possible from a psychiatrist is important.

However, there are certain instances when you may need help even more quickly. This can be done by calling 911.

An appropriate time to call 911 would be if you plan to harm yourself or someone else. If you feel you might act on this, it’s imperative to call emergency services for help. Another thing you can do is go to the emergency room at the hospital and tell them you need help right away. 

psych meds online

psychiatrist-backed care, all from your couch

If you’re dealing with a mental health crisis, you may need to seek the help of a psychiatrist immediately.

A psychiatrist is a mental health provider who has a medical degree. They can order lab tests, prescribe psychiatric medication and offer various therapy services.

Some reasons you may need psychiatric help quickly include being in a spiral of rage or sadness, dependence on a substance, issues related to an eating disorder, thoughts of self-harm and more.

You can find a psychiatrist quickly by looking at online directories or asking your primary care provider for a recommendation. 

Another option is to engage with online psychiatry services. Hers offers online consultations that make it easy to get the mental health help you need as soon as possible.

8 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Types of Mental Health Professionals. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved from
  2. Trivedi, J., Goel, D., (2006). What Psychiatry Means to Us. Mens Sana Monographs. Retrieved from
  3. Psychiatrist. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved from
  4. Finding The Best Psychiatrist For You. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved from
  5. Hubley, S., Lynch, S., Schneck, C., et al., (2016). Review of key telepsychiatry outcomes. World Journal of Psychiatry. Retrieved from
  6. Types of Mental Health Professionals. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved from
  7. What is Psychiatry? American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved from
  8. What To Do In a Crisis. National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved from

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Kristin Hall, FNP

Kristin Hall is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with decades of experience in clinical practice and leadership. 

She has an extensive background in Family Medicine as both a front-line healthcare provider and clinical leader through her work as a primary care provider, retail health clinician and as Principal Investigator with the NIH

Certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, she brings her expertise in Family Medicine into your home by helping people improve their health and actively participate in their own healthcare. 

Kristin is a St. Louis native and earned her master’s degree in Nursing from St. Louis University, and is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. You can find Kristin on LinkedIn for more information.

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