Be open and honest. Your care team can only help you fully if you don’t hold back about the tough stuff—your side effects, mood and mental health, sex life, drinking, drug use, domestic violence and other sources of trauma and stress. And if you can’t or won’t take your meds for whatever reason, don’t be ashamed. Tell your team so you can work out a solution that’ll keep you healthy and happy. 

Ask questions. Wondering about newer treatments, including long-acting injectables, but need to better understand your options? If you don’t get something your provider is telling you, tell them so! Don’t go home with unanswered questions. “Can you explain this to me in simple terms?” is a great place to start. Remember: Your team works for you. Assuming you’re respectful about it, no question should be off the table.

Don’t fear looking elsewhere. If you feel you’ve really tried to talk through a bad provider relationship and it’s just not working, there’s no shame in trying to find a new one. But make do with your old one until you’re properly linked up again—you don’t want to have a gap in your care, prescriptions, etc. 

Pen to paper. Take time before an appointment to sit, reflect and write down all your questions and concerns. That way, amid the multitasking of your provider visit, you won’t forget them. 

Bring a friend or loved one. If you’re nervous or anxious about provider visits, ask a friend to come along for support. You can always promise to take them for coffee after as an incentive!