What to Do When You Cannot Afford Therapy
It is never easy to convince yourself that you need mental health help. Some people feel ashamed and scared to visit therapists near me to manage their symptoms. Many people continue to struggle in life despite serious mental illness because treatment is expensive. Cost is the primary reason people do not seek mental health services.
In a recent survey, around 50% of American adults undergoing therapy worry about its long-term affordability and will have to stop seeing their therapist if their expenses go up. One third of the respondents shared that they cancel or decrease the number of therapy sessions they attend because of financial constraints or because their insurance does not cover the cost.
Therapy has many benefits, but there are people who struggle with affording rent, bills, and food. They choose to prioritize these over going to therapy. Whether due to financial constraints or personal preference, here are seven suggestions for managing your mental health problems when you cannot afford therapy.
Check your insurance.
If you have insurance through your employer, the Health Insurance Marketplace, or Medicaid, your plan includes coverage for necessary mental health services like psychotherapy, inpatient services, substance use disorder treatment, or counseling for depression. The specifics of your health benefits, such as your copay or coinsurance amount, will vary based on your state and health plan, but you are guaranteed coverage.
It’s important to note that not all therapists near me accept insurance, so you should check with the therapist to see if they take your specific plan and if they accept insurance before booking an appointment.
Meet with a psychologist in training.
A good option to consider is a psychology training clinic, which is usually located at universities and colleges. The students here are training to become licensed therapists. While they may still be in training, they will always be supervised by a licensed professional and instructor.
If you do not have insurance, seeing a counseling intern can be an affordable option for accessing mental health care. Many agencies do not charge clients to see interns because they work for free. Getting an appointment with an intern may be quicker than getting an appointment with a professional counselor.
Ask around about sliding-scale therapists.
Sliding-scale therapists are mental health professionals who adjust their hourly fee to make therapy more affordable for the client. They are trained to treat general conditions such as anxiety, depression, and adjustment disorders, but not all specialize in treating other conditions like postpartum depression, complicated grief, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Finding a sliding-scale therapist may be a good option if you need to pay out of pocket for counseling or if your insurance provider doesn’t offer referrals to specialists.
Sliding scale options adjust the fee based on your income. You can also inquire about shorter sessions, which cost less. Meeting with the therapist less frequently, such as every other week. However, it is worth noting that experts generally recommend meeting more frequently for quicker improvements.
Check out community mental health clinics.
If you cannot afford mental health care and don’t have health insurance, community mental health clinics can provide the care you need at a low cost or no cost. These clinics are staffed by licensed professionals and supervised students who are in psychology, counseling, and social work programs. They offer services at a reduced rate or at no cost.
Just like in any private mental health clinic, community mental health clinics provide a range of services, including individual and family counseling, medication management, and substance use disorder counseling. They have mental health professionals who are trained to treat various psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
Consider online therapy sessions.
In-person therapy is too expensive, but you can still access therapy through online sessions. Online therapy offers greater flexibility and more affordable options, such as shorter session times or instant messaging therapy, that can be just as effective.
Online therapy can be effective for treating common mental health issues like depression and anxiety, but it may not be the most ideal choice for more severe psychiatric illnesses with complex symptoms or for those experiencing suicidal thoughts. These cases usually require face-to-face sessions with therapists near me, medication, or hospitalization.
Ask about the Employee Assistance Program at your workplace.
Your company might offer therapy services for free through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAP is a confidential program that your workplace may have set up to provide assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up help at no or reduced cost. The aim of these services is to address any issue that affects your mental or emotional health while working.
Most EAPs offer services for alcohol or substance abuse, anxiety, depression, stress, trauma, and family issues. The number of sessions available through the EAP is limited, but if you need immediate help, it is worth considering this option. You may consider Mindshift Psychological Services if you are looking for affordable therapists near me. You may visit our website to learn more about us or contact us at (714) 584-9700.