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Learn about the different behavioral health provider types

September 13, 2022

Finding the right behavioral health provider these days is more challenging than ever as demand and wait times have increased. Therapists are reporting significant increases in the number of people seeking mental health care. And 75% of clinicians surveyed said there was an increase in wait times to get an appointment, with nearly one in three reporting a minimum three-month wait time.


Increasing access to behavioral and mental health care continues to be a key priority for Regence and our provider partners.


When it’s time to find mental health support, knowing the different provider types can help you understand what to expect and where to go to help you get the care you need when you need it.

Types of behavioral health providers

Your primary care provider (PCP), pediatrician or family nurse practitioner is an excellent place to start if you are unsure where to find mental health support. They can recommend a specialist or other therapy as well as prescribe medication.


  • Counselors, clinicians and therapists: These mental health care professionals operate under a variety of job titles based on the treatment setting, including licensed professional counselor (LPC), licensed certified professional counselor (LCPC), licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT), and licensed clinical alcohol & drug abuse counselor (LCADAC). They evaluate a person’s mental health and use therapeutic techniques to help reduce symptoms and improve thinking, feeling and quality of life.


  • Psychologists: Psychologists evaluate your mental health using clinical interviews, psychological evaluations and diagnostic testing. Psychologists provide individual and group therapy and may be specially trained in specific types of behavioral therapy interventions.


  • Clinical social workers: Like counselors and therapists, clinical social workers receive training to evaluate mental health and use specialized therapeutic techniques. They are also trained in case management and advocacy services.


  • Certified peer specialists: A certified peer specialist has lived experience with a mental health condition or substance misuse. Although they are not therapists or licensed, they are trained and certified as a mentor and guide to support recovery by helping set goals and developing strengths  Check with your health plan, as many certified peer specialists may not be covered under your benefits.


  • Psychiatrists: A psychiatrist is a licensed medical doctor (MD or DO) who has completed psychiatric residence training. They diagnose mental health conditions, prescribe medication and provide therapy.


  • Psychiatric or mental health nurse practitioners: Nurse practitioners, who specialize in psychiatry, assess, diagnose and provide therapy for mental health conditions and substance misuse. In some states, they are qualified to prescribe medications.


Crisis resources

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.


If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline: 988


For substance abuse and mental health crises, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit


If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI at 741-741 to connect with a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.


Regence member’s behavioral health resources

Whether you need occasional emotional support or ongoing mental health care, Regence has a variety of programs to prevent, identify and treat mental health and substance use disorders. Regence members who want to understand what is available under their health plan can sign in to their account on or call for help finding the right behavioral health resources.


You and your employees’ health are essential, and the BIAW Health Trust can help. The BIAW Health Trust team is proud to assist you in offering affordable health insurance benefits to your employees and their families. To find out more about the trust or receive a free, no-obligation quote, visit us at or call 425-641-8093.

Read this entire article here.

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