Expert Health Articles

Seeing a Psychiatrist

“Who sees a psychiatrist anyway?” This is a common question I have been asked by many different people outside of my office. Many times, this question is brought up to me in social situations where the topic of mental health arises in passing. I often forget that psychiatry has a stigma as every day I encounter people from all walks of life who are seeking professional help for an array of different issues.

As I live in the community which I practice in, I do often encounter patients in the community and out of respect for confidentiality, I may give a simple “Midwest nod” of greeting but most times, I simply go on about my business. If I had not provided care to that person, I never would have known they were having issues or struggles. I think that if we were to simply take a sample of population and had others try and “pick the one who sees a psychiatrist” most would be quite incorrect.

I often tell others who ask, “who sees a psychiatrist anyway?” that, it’s not always what you think. Of course, I have done work with those who are homeless, hear voices and cannot care for themselves but surprisingly, this is not a typical presentation of a psychiatric patient. Most times, people are seeking help as they feel overwhelmed with emotions that despite their own effort, beliefs and work, cannot be calmed or stabilized. These are people who do walk among us and live successful lives, are our neighbors, co-workers or even family.

Unfortunately, suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and amongst teenagers; suicide just surpassed cancer and is the third leading cause of death. All too often we hear of a person who committed suicide “we never knew” or “they seemed so happy I couldn’t tell they had a problem.” Unfortunately, part of the reason we never knew is due to the stigma associated with seeking help. If you or a loved one are struggling through life, forget the stigma and seek help.

Christian Steiner, MD

Psychiatric Center of Northwest Ohio