Therapy is expensive, but mental health is important. Mental and behavioral health go hand in hand with your physical wellbeing, and it’s not something to neglect. That said, you might look at the cost of therapy or counseling and wonder, “how does anyone afford this?” It’s true that counseling can be expensive at up to about $200/session, but there are affordable (and even free) options available both remotely and in person. Here are some ways to get the mental health care you need without draining your bank account or spending money you don’t have – some are even free!
Use Your Insurance Plan
Your insurance plan should cover a number of visits to a therapist or counselor. Using your insurance plan, the only fee for therapy you’ll have to cover out of pocket is a co-pay as low as $20. If you live in the United States and have a Medicaid plan, your therapy costs may be covered in full. This is how most people successfully see a free or low-cost therapist or behavioral health professional. The catch is that you have to see specific providers that are covered by your insurance plan. Call your insurance company or check their website to see what your insurance covers. You can also search the web for therapists near you that take your insurance, or ask your primary care physician.
Ask Your School
If you’re a college student, it’s likely that your school has a therapist or counselor on staff. Ask your student health center about your options and see what’s available. In many cases, on-campus counseling is free, and it’s provided by a licensed mental health provider. If your school has a student health insurance plan, there may be a small co-pay, but counseling is free at many schools. Counselors at colleges and universities generally practice on campus, but due to the coronavirus, sessions are now online at most schools. However, the cost should remain the same.
If you have children in K-12 education and are seeking a counselor for a child, it’s common for K-12 schools to have a counselor on staff. It might not be an option for long-term care if your child needs ongoing counseling, but it’s a good place to start.
Find A Therapist Who Offers Sliding Scale Rates
Many mental health providers offer sliding scale rates based on a client’s income level. What this means is that they will discount their services for the charge you pay for their services based on your income level. Often, a therapist or counselor can only take a certain number of clients on a sliding scale basis, so you may be on a waiting list for a certain amount of time, but it is also possible that you will get in without it taking too much time. To check and see who offers sliding scale rates, search the internet, or contact a provider of your choice and ask if they provide services on a sliding scale basis.
Employee Assistance Programs
If you work for a company with an employee assistance program, it’s likely that you will be able to get individual counseling, couples counseling, and other forms of mental health care through the program. To ask questions or gain a better understanding of how an employee assistance program can help you, check with your human resources department.
See What Your Church Offers
Those who attend church may be able to get free counseling through the church. Many religious organizations offer couples counseling and other forms of mental health counseling or therapy free of cost. Often, through your church, you will be able to get individual counseling or couples therapy. They may also have resources available that will help you to afford therapy, even if your church is not able to offer direct services.
Other Free Or Low-Cost Options For Support
Though it is not the same as counseling, if you need support, you might consider attending a support group. A support group is not the same as group therapy or group counseling because a support group does not need to be run by a mental health professional, where group therapy or counseling is run by a licensed mental health provider. However, peer support can make you feel less alone and can be life-changing for many people. There are local support groups, as well as online support groups and forums. If you are in need of someone to talk with immediately, another option is to contact a hotline such as the national suicide prevention lifeline. There are a variety of mental health hotlines available, including those for specific mental health conditions or life concerns, including eating disorders, substance use, and more.
Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the national suicide prevention hotline, or visit their website. If you are in immediate danger, go to your local emergency room or call 911.
More and more companies and services are going remote, including those in the mental health field. Online therapy is proven effective for a variety of behavioral health and life concerns, and it’s often much more affordable than traditional in-person therapy is, especially in the absence of insurance. If you get online counseling through BetterHelp, you’ll be billed monthly rather than paying at the end of each session, and the price of your counseling will range from $80/week to $100/week, depending on the plan you choose. Online therapy is confidential, and BetterHelp only works with licensed providers, so don’t be afraid to reach out for help! You can read BetterHelp reviews here: https://www.trustpilot.com/review/www.betterhelp.com?page=5