4b. Appointments – Scheduling


Making healthcare appointments is something that’s easy to put off or procrastinate on, but is one of those things that is likely to be most useful if you address it right away. Look through the information that you may have received at the emergency room, hospital, clinic, or crisis center. You will probably find a list of referrals.

I would try to get an appointment with somebody in each of the categories that you have a referral for. Even if you are not sure whether or not you were going to go to one of those providers, or try somebody different, it is good to have at least an appointment on the books. It sometimes takes a long time to be able to get into see providers, particularly if you are going as a new patient. Thus, it is extremely frustrating to have to try to do that while you have a critical need. It is better to have it already set up and ready to go.

If there is a provider that you are definitely planning to go see, in addition to making an appointment, ask them if you can be notified about any cancellations. There have been times where my originally scheduled appointment would be in a month and ½, but I would be able to get into see the doctor within a few days because somebody else canceled. And speaking of counseling, it is definitely useful for others if you cancel your appointment within the stated timeframe (for example 24 hours or 72 hours).

Special Case: Medication

It’s important to know your current status and inventory for any pharmacy needs. Try to get prescriptions filled as soon as possible, because there are sometimes when the pharmacy is out of a particular medicine, or needs to order it from someplace, or is simply running behind. In those situations, it’s better to have sufficient quantity already at home so that you don’t get stuck without a medication that would be helpful to you.

The other special consideration about medication is that depending on the prescription, and the provider, you might be able to get a refill from a provider faster than you could get an appointment to see the provider. Note that there are some providers and some types of medication where they will recommend meeting with the medical provider beforehand.

If there is a medication that you will be needing for a while, consider doing mail order for your prescriptions. There are some times where that option is cheaper, or allows you to get a more extended refill, or simply allows you to have medication refills and not have to go down to the pharmacy to pick them up.


You’re on the Team: Preparing for Appointments – http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/youre-team-preparing-appointments

Schedule – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schedule

Medication – http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/medication

By Dr. Lezine

DeQuincy Lezine is a suicide attempt survivor with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and postdoctoral training in suicide prevention. He is the Director of the Lived Experience Academy.