Mental health is fundamental to overall health; it is the basis of making meaningful contributions to family, community and society as a whole. Mental health is the wellspring of the though process, the ability to communicate, the ability to learn and of self-esteem. Problems with mental health effect 20% of Americans. If mental health issues are not treated by a skilled psychiatrist, the problem can result in actual disability and despair for all concerned. What is a psychiatrist? A psychiatrist is a physician, a medical doctor who has chosen as a specialty, the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental-health problems. With extensive training, the psychiatrist fully understands the total body function and the complex relationships between emotional and physical illness. A psychiatrist is the medical professional best suited to distinguish between physical and psychological causes of illness and distress. Mental health issues, including addiction to addictive substances and alcohol are common. Mental health issues are not unlike physical issues; they can range from life-threatening disorders to mild conditions, which can be self-limiting. Of the 20% of Americans who suffer from some sort of mental health issue, close to 3% of the population suffers from severe mental-health problems ranging from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder to disabling anxiety attacks and depression. How do psychiatrists make a diagnosis? Because they are licensed physicians, they can order or perform any medical or psychological tests that they feel are required to provide a picture of the patient’s mental state. The many years of education, coupled with clinical experience allow them to fully understand the complex relationships between the emotional and the physical aspects of the patient. With this data, the doctor can diagnose and develop a plan for treatment. What treatments do psychiatrists use? Depending on the needs of each patient, the treatments can consist of any number of psychotherapies, medications or commitment to a hospital. Psychotherapy is a treatment method where, in regular meeting between the doctor and patient; discussions about problems and feelings take place. The doctor helps the patient understand what their problems are and what the solutions may be. Treatment may last for just a few sessions or over many years for the seriously disturbed individual. There are many forms of psychotherapy that the psychiatrist can use. There are forms which help structure behavioral changes and thought processes and forms that help the patient explore past experiences and how they relate to current-day behaviors. The doctor can treat an individual or a family that is experiencing problems. Psychiatry is one of the oldest medical specialties. It is also one of the most exciting and dynamic, with breakthroughs based on new technology and methods of diagnosis and treatment. Brain imaging and modern medicines are helping the patient to better understand and cope with the treatment of these illnesses. A psychiatrist is just one of the skilled professionals who are responsible for the mental well being of patients at Salt Lake Behavioral Health, a private facility specializing in mental health and chemical dependencies.