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How Long Does It Take to See a Psychiatrist?

Written by Klarity Editorial Team

Published: Jan 13, 2023

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Zoe Russell

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If you are struggling with your mental health, it is important not to let your symptoms go untreated. However, seeking mental health treatment can be a daunting task, especially with the long wait times involved with seeing a mental health professional in an office.

In-office mental healthcare can be a drawn-out process that takes months of waiting, follow-ups, and trial periods for psychiatric medications. In this article, we will discuss how long it takes to be seen by a traditional, brick-and-mortar mental health provider.

We’ll also cover an alternative option to the traditional health system—namely, seeking telehealth treatment for your mental health concerns.

At Klarity, our goal is to streamline mental health treatment and make it easier for everyday working people to connect with board-certified mental health professionals from the comfort of home through.

If you want to bypass the weeks of waiting and connect with a licensed health care provider within 48 hours, schedule an appointment on Klarity today.

How Common Is It to Be Put On a Psychiatrist Waitlist?

Over the past few years, there has been a clear increase in the need for psychiatric health care in the US. With this increased demand, in-person psychiatrists are busier than ever and often don’t have the time or resources to keep up with the increased patient load.

Therefore, it is fairly common for a psychiatrist to not accept new patients or to put new patients on a waitlist for the next opening. 

How Long Can You Expect to Be on a Psychiatrist Waitlist?

The time you spend on a waitlist to be seen by a psychiatrist can dramatically vary based on several different factors, including your geographic location, the type of care you need, and your insurance coverage. The dynamics and business model of the particular clinic you choose will also play a role in how quickly you will be able to be seen.

Some small private practice psych offices may only have one or a few psychiatrists seeing patients, while other clinics have a more multidisciplinary approach, with a variety of mental health professionals, including therapists, social workers, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, in addition to physicians.

On average, you can expect to be on a waitlist for a few weeks or up to several months and even over a year in circumstances where your desired healthcare provider is in high demand.

Faster Alternatives For Treating Mental Illness

If you are struggling with mental illness, it is important to address your symptoms. However, being put on a waitlist for months can make your mental illness worse and lead to a more serious mental health condition developing.

If you are on a waitlist to see an in-person psychiatrist, there are many faster alternatives to help you now. Below we have listed a few resources and solutions to help you receive help quickly. 

Join a Self-Help Group

Connecting with others who are experiencing the same or similar issues can provide much-needed support. Joining self-help groups gives a sense of community and support by connecting with others who are experiencing similar problems.

There are several resources available online, such as those offered through NAMI’s website

Contact SAMHSA

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, also known as SAMHSA, is a program sponsored and run by the federal government that aims to help those who are suffering from substance abuse issues and various other mental health conditions.

They offer a hotline that is available 24/7, 365 days a year to offer help and resources for those who are experiencing substance abuse issues or other mental health conditions. This service is confidential and provides information and resources on treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based resources.

Simply call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit their webpage if you or a family member need help.   

Call a Hotline

In addition to the SAMHSA hotline, there are additional hotlines that are available to help those in need of mental health services. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or self-harm behaviors, call 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Line. This service is available any time or day of the year.  

Opt For Telehealth

Telehealth has become a popular way to receive faster care for your mental health in recent years. Opting for a telehealth provider allows you to receive the care you need from the convenience of your home, with shorter wait times and affordable options for those who do not have health insurance coverage. 

Licensed providers on Klarity provide personalized treatment. Find a provider that matches your needs and preferences.

How COVID-19 Led To Increased Demand For Online Mental and Physical Health Services

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a significant increase in the popularity of online healthcare services, including online mental healthcare. This surge in demand can be attributed to several factors:

  • Social distancing and lockdown measures: As governments implemented various restrictions to limit the spread of the virus, many people were unable or unwilling to attend in-person appointments with healthcare providers. This led to a shift toward remote healthcare services, including telemedicine and online mental health care.
  • Increased mental health concerns: The pandemic caused a rise in stress, anxiety, and depression for many individuals due to various factors such as social isolation, job loss, financial strain, and the constant barrage of negative news. As a result, more people sought out support, including online therapy and counseling services.
  • Accessibility and convenience: Online mental health care services offer greater accessibility and convenience for both patients and providers. Patients can access care from the comfort of their homes, without the need for travel or time off work. Additionally, online services can help bridge the gap for those living in rural or remote areas with limited access to mental health professionals.
  • Technological advancements: The rapid growth of telecommunication technology has made it easier for healthcare providers to offer online services. Video conferencing, messaging apps, and secure platforms have facilitated seamless communication between patients and providers, making online mental health care more accessible and effective.
  • Reducing stigma: The shift towards online mental health care has helped reduce the stigma associated with seeking help for mental health issues. The anonymity and privacy offered by online platforms can make it easier for individuals to seek help from psychiatrists without fear of judgment.

Skip the Wait: Speak to a Mental Health Professional within 48 Hours

If you are struggling with mental illness, it is important to address your symptoms in a timely manner and not wait months to be seen by a mental health professional. 

A mental health care provider on Klarity will discuss your symptoms, provide an accurate diagnosis and develop an individualized treatment plan tailored to address your specific situation, if necessary. Your provider can also prescribe medication treatment based on your diagnosis.

Schedule an appointment today on Klarity, and we will connect you with a licensed healthcare provider in your state within 48 hours!


“SAMHSA’s National Helpline” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

“Support Groups| NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Health” NAMI.

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