Anyone who’s ever looked into going to therapy or mental health counseling can tell you first-hand how expensive it can be.
If your health insurance doesn’t cover therapy sessions or you don’t have health insurance at all, you’re looking at shelling out between $100 to $200+ per session (usually an hour long).
It’s no surprise then that we tend to prioritize other, seemingly more pressing, issues over our mental health.
Unfortunately, skipping out on treatment or letting a mental health issue remain undiagnosed, will be detrimental to your health in the long term. It can also lead to severe financial problems.
So, if you’re entertaining the idea of seeing a therapist but are hesitant because of the cost, here are a few ways to find low cost or even free mental health services.
1. Get Free Therapy & Mental Health Services at Your School or University
Most colleges and universities offer health care services, including mental health services such as counseling and therapy.
Luckily, if you’re a student, these services are normally free or very low-cost because you’re already paying for the service through your tuition.
If you work at a school, it’s likely that you have access to the same mental health services as the students.
If you’re still in high school, you may want to check with your administrative office. Lots of K-12 schools offer free counseling to their students.
2. Find Low-Cost or Free Online Therapy
Believe it or not, you can see a therapist (or almost any other kind of doctor) online, from anywhere. It’s called telemedicine.
You can be diagnosed, ask doctors questions, and even be prescribed medication online for much cheaper than it would cost to see someone in person.
This holds true for finding mental health services online. For example, Talkspace is a platform that lets you text a licensed therapist whenever you want for $49 per week. Not sure if text therapy is for you? Read some Talkspace reviews before making a final decision.
If you’re looking for advice and emotional support from people who’ve been in your situation, you may want to check out Reddit or Facebook groups dedicated to that topic.
Just remember that you should always take other people’s advice with a grain of salt. Especially online.
3. Check Out Your Community Mental Health Center
Most cities and towns will have community mental health centers that offer free or low-cost therapy that is covered by Medicaid.
To find these centers, use your state’s government website and check their Department of Human Services.
There are even some private, non-profit organizations that offer low-cost therapy or counseling. Your local YMCA may offer these services to adults and kids.
4. Attend a Local Support Group
If you can’t afford private therapy sessions or counseling, support groups may be a viable alternative.
Most of us have already heard of support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous for people struggling with those substances. But there are many other support groups that offer free local support groups such as the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
If you’re not opposed to a group setting, you may even want to ask a local therapist if they offer group sessions. Since these sessions are not in a 1-on-1 setting, their cost should be much more reasonable.
Don’t Sideline Your Mental Health
I hope that the options above help you realize that you don’t have to ignore your mental health because of financial reasons.
Letting mental health issues take control of your life will cause so much more stress long term, physically and financially.