Urgent Care Centers: Their Mental Health Role

Urgent Care Centers: Their Mental Health Role

If you find yourself in a mental health crisis, you may wonder whether you can go to an urgent care center for help. Can an urgent care center help, though, and if so, how? We’ll explore this question below, with a view to better understanding how urgent care services can support your mental health.

Effectiveness of Urgent Care for Mental Health

Urgent care for mental health is only as good as the professionals staffing the center and their experience treating individuals with a mental health concern. How effective is urgent care mental health? Mental health urgent care, like urgent care for a broken leg, severe cough, an infected wound, or other medical concern, provides short-term, immediate professional help on an as-needed basis.

It is essential to be seen by a professional who can evaluate and assess what’s going on when you don’t know what is happening to you or what to do about it. If an urgent care center is staffed and equipped to handle mental health care issues, many doctors would recommend going.

Urgent care centers can often help with common mental health issues like panic attacks and can help to prevent health concerns associated with depression or anxiety that could become more serious.

Urgent Care as Crisis Intervention for Mental Health

During a mental health crisis, immediate attention by trained medical and mental health professionals is essential. Someone experiencing a panic attack, severe depression, flashbacks and other PTSD symptoms, constant anxiety, and other severe mental health disorders can’t wait for a traditional appointment with their doctor, or their regular therapist may not be available.

At the same time, you may wonder if you can really go to urgent care for depression or anxiety that’s wreaking havoc with your life and interfering with your ability to function normally. “Can I just go to urgent care for mental health and get the help I need?” you may wonder

Types of Mental Health Services Provided

Many urgent care centers provide basic mental health services. These are preliminary services to help stabilize a person in crisis. Once you’re stabilized, you should see a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or counselor.

You’ll Undergo Evaluation and Assessment

The trained urgent care mental health center staff, usually a doctor or psychiatric nurse practitioner, will evaluate you based on your psychological and physical symptoms. They’ll assess your level of risk and decide the best next steps. For example, they know the symptoms of anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, PTSD, schizophrenia, substance abuse, and other mental health disorders.

These may include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rapid breathing
  • Anxiousness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trembling extremities
  • Feeling of calamity or impending doom

If you’re believed to be at risk for self-harm or hurting others, the staff will act immediately to ensure you get emergency care.

You’ll Receive Basic Counseling and Management for Medications

Initial basic counseling and medication management may be possible in some urgent care mental health clinics. The goal is to help you feel better and reduce symptom severity. It does not replace more in-depth counseling and medication management from a mental health professional who treats you long-term.

You may be started on medication or referred to therapy. If you’re already on medication but have run out, experienced an adverse reaction, or it doesn’t work to control symptoms, you may be prescribed an alternative and referred to your regular therapist for follow-up.

What Are the Benefits of Urgent Care Mental Health During a Crisis?

If you are in the grip of a mental health crisis, you need immediate assistance from a trained mental health professional. Time is critical. The sooner you can see or speak with a psychiatrist or a counselor skilled in assessing and assisting individuals in psychological, emotional, and physical distress, the better off you will be.

Your concern need not be whether you can go to urgent care for depression (or anxiety, or any serious mental health emergency), but rather how soon you can get there. When you require immediate help to restore calm and stability, the doctors and nurses in urgent mental health care facilities can be lifesaving.

Stability During a Mental Health Crisis

When you’re highly anxious or severely depressed, you make poor decisions. Your mental state can be so chaotic and disorganized that even the simplest tasks become unmanageable. Hyperventilating, holding your breath, seeing or hearing things that aren’t there, imagining catastrophic situations where none exist, and other signs of mental distress is more than upsetting. These symptoms can quickly escalate to more severe physical and psychological consequences. Doctors and nurses in urgent care mental health facilities should be able to provide a calming presence and help you understand what’s going on, so that you can feel more stable as you take next steps to get more specialized help from a psychiatrist and/or therapist.

Emergency Psychiatric Care Resources

While they won’t be able to “cure” your mental health issue, they can offer resources for you to get emergency psychiatric care. Learning to cope with the symptoms of mental health disorders is part of a treatment process that’s most appropriately handled by mental health and behavioral health care facilities.

Referrals to Mental Health Professionals

After addressing the immediate mental health concern, urgent care professionals will provide you with a referral to a counselor or psychiatrist. This is essential for following up with treatment and management of your mental health condition on a more long-term basis.

It may be that an individual wants to see a psychiatrist but can’t get an appointment immediately. They may be able to have the center coordinate the upcoming psychiatric appointment or get a referral to other mental health clinicians offering care in the community.

Availability and Potential Drawbacks of Urgent Care for Mental Health

Many people are unaware that they can get help for mental health issues that are frightening, disabling, and unexpected. Others may wonder, “Can I go to urgent care for mental health?”

What Role Does Urgent Care Play in Supporting Mental Health?

Mental health is a topic regularly covered in the media. Beyond shows that may have a medical doctor discuss the mental health benefits of activities like walking, many talk shows feature segments on improving mental health. However, both may stress the importance of getting professional help to deal with a mental health crisis.

Access to Quality Care

With urgent care centers, individuals can always call to ask, “Can I go to urgent care for mental health?” Often, they may be relieved to get an appointment or walk in to see someone for an evaluation and assessment. In this regard, going to urgent care for mental health is convenient and may avert a full-blown mental health episode.

Get Help During a Mental Health Emergency

Can you go to urgent care for depression when you can’t get in to see your doctor? Whether it’s depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues causing symptoms and reducing functionality, an urgent care center may serve as a first line of support to someone in crisis. These centers also raise awareness of mental health disorders and provide valuable community services.

Reduced Stigma

Going to urgent care for mental health concerns that suddenly occur or have become progressively worse, or in between regular psychiatric or counseling sessions can:

  • Help restore a sense of control.
  • Serve as a stop-gap until formal counseling and treatment.
  • Provide immediate symptom relief.
  • Offer access to psychiatric services and resources.
  • Be less stigmatizing to the individual in need of psychiatric care since people go to urgent care for mental health and other concerns.


If you need to go to urgent care for depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue, often it’s after hours for seeing your doctor or therapist. This may be due to a crisis that occurs so unexpectedly that you, your family, loved ones, or others are completely unprepared for it and don’t know where to seek help. The first location that comes to mind may be a nearby urgent care center.

Seek Help When You Need It

The most important thing to do if you experience a mental health emergency is to seek professional help. Go to urgent care for mental health and then follow up with a psychiatric treatment provider for long-term counseling and therapies to help you cope with and manage mental health concerns.

If you need help now and aren’t sure what to do, our experts at Restore-Mental Health can help. Reach out anytime.