If you are in the process of seeking therapy, knowing the differences between mental health care titles can be imperative to your success.
Psychiatrists and psychologists are different types of professionals trained to help you deal with mental health issues. There are similarities, but there are important differences, too.
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specialises in preventing, diagnosing, and treating mental illness. They focus on chemical imbalances in the brain and are trained to differentiate mental health problems from other underlying medical conditions that could be present with psychiatric symptoms. They can prescribe the necessary treatment and it can be in the form of therapy, medications and even simple lifestyle changes.
In Singapore, a psychiatrist is more likely to prescribe medication rather than engage in talk therapy.
A psychologist is someone who studies the mind and behaviour. A psychologist diagnoses and treats mental disorders, learning disabilities, and behavioural problems. They may provide treatment for chronic conditions, and they can do so in an individual, family, or group setting. The most common type of treatment used by psychologists is psychotherapy, or talk therapy.
In Singapore, a psychologist does not prescribe medication.
Call these 24-hour helplines if you need support:
National Care Hotline 1800‑202‑6868
SOS (Samaritans of Singapore) 1800-221-4444
SAF Hotline (For SAF Personnel) 1800 278 0022