5 Options for Affordable Mental Healthcare

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In a survey from CNN in partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation, 9 out of 10 surveyed adults said they believe there’s a mental health crisis in the United States. More than 1 in 5 adults surveyed described their own mental health as fair or poor. Over the course of the past year, one-third of all adults surveyed said they felt often or always anxious while 1 in 5 adults said they were often or always depressed or lonely.

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Nearly three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing mental health continues to be a challenge for teens and adults. The answer is not always as simple as finding a therapist either. Many individuals do not have sufficient health insurance to cover the full cost of therapy sessions. Some may also be without health insurance, increasing the difficulty in finding affordable mental healthcare. 

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The good news is there are low-cost and even free mental health resources available to individuals of all ages. Explore these options if you’re looking for affordable mental healthcare now.

Sliding Scale Therapists

While this is not necessarily a free option, it is possible for those seeking mental health support to find it in sliding scale therapists.

If you need to pay out of pocket for therapy sessions because your insurance does not cover the full amount, you may want to find a sliding scale therapist. A therapist who works on a sliding scale is able to adjust their hourly fees. This allows clients to better afford their therapy sessions. 

Need to find an affordable in-office or online therapist? Look up available therapists through networks like Open Path Psychotherapy Collective. Enter your city name or ZIP code and search to find available therapists in your area. Session costs range between $30 and $60 for individuals and between $30 and $80 for couples and families.

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Community Mental Health Clinics

Depending on where you live, you may be able to visit a local organization with mental health expertise. 

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Some of these resources may be found as quickly as visiting HealthCare.gov to find low-cost healthcare in your community and locate the nearest community health center. 

Even more organizations can be found by visiting MentalHealth.gov. Here you can find out which organizations offer peer and family support and services and treatment for mental health issues. Some of these organizations include Active Minds, The Jed Foundation, The Trevor Project, Mental Health America and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to name a few resources.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)

Your employer may offer employee assistance programs (EAP) that allow employees to receive mental health benefits. 

Reach out to your human resources department or consult your employee handbook to see which types of services or programs are available and what you need to know about EAP benefit options.

Visit a College Health Center

College health centers can be a helpful space for students, including undergraduate and graduate students, to visit for mental health assistance. 

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There are several colleges that have mental health practitioner programs that provide low-cost therapy treatment. If you’re not sure what your college offers, students can call the psychology department to learn more about these services and determine which sessions are available for their needs.

Call or Text a Mental Health Hotline

Support is one call or text away. Crisis connection hotlines are available in your state of residence as well as at a nationwide level. 

A full list of hotlines can be found at pleaselive.org providing resources for those struggling with crises at any age. Remember these hotlines are free, confidential and available to call 24/7.

If you’re not sure where to start, text HOME to 741-741 from anywhere in the United States. You will be able to connect with a crisis counselor through the Crisis Text Hotline. A trained, live crisis counselor will receive the text and respond to provide free, 24/7 support that moves you from a hot moment to a cool moment. 

In the event of a true medical emergency or where there is immediate danger of harm, it is strongly advised you get help immediately. Dial 911 to seek support for a mental health crisis or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).

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About the Author

Heather Taylor is a senior finance writer for GOBankingRates. She is also the head writer and brand mascot enthusiast for PopIcon, Advertising Week’s blog dedicated to brand mascots. She has been published on HelloGiggles, Business Insider, The Story Exchange, Brit + Co, Thrive Global, and more media outlets. 

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