What if I Can't Afford Therapy?
How to Afford Therapy
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Therapy can help you improve your mental health, but the cost often makes it difficult for people to take part in. It can be just as expensive to care for, if not more expensive, than other types of doctor bills, especially since many insurance plans have little to no coverage for mental health. If you have a tight budget or do not have enough money to spend on mental health, there are ways that you can afford therapy.
Lowering the Price of Therapy
Find a therapist your insurance covers.The easiest way to afford therapy is to find a therapist that is covered by your insurance plan. This will help cut down on your out of pocket cost because you just have to pay the copayment. Make sure you ask your therapist if your insurance covers her services.
- If you aren't sure, contact your insurance company or look on their website.
Negotiate price with your therapist.Although it may seem like a taboo subject, most therapists understand that monetary issues are a fact of life. Do not be scared to talk to your therapist about how much sessions are going to cost or if you can get a lower rate negotiated with them for your services.
- If you are unsure if your therapist will offer payment options, ask for a short consultation with your therapist to ask about insurance and price issues.
- In these consultations, it may be difficult to bring it up. Start with phrases such as, "I would like to discuss payment options for my therapy." or "Can we discuss how to make your services more affordable?"
Look into sliding scale payments.Some therapists offer payment options, such as sliding scale payments, for those who do not have the money to pay for over priced therapy sessions. Sliding scale payment plans will shift the price of your therapy based on your income level.
- These plans are often offered to those who have no insurance assistance so they can afford therapy.
- Your therapist may not know about the billing options for the services, so ask the person in charge of billing about these types of payments.
Ask about employee assistance plans (EAPs).In addition to insurance plans, many employers offer employee assistance plans that include therapy. These plans offer counseling to employees at no additional costs.
- These sessions are typically meant to be short term and will only consist of a limited number of sessions, typically between eight and 12. You would be responsible for the costs after this period.
Finding Other Options
Visit a federally funded health center.If you have no health insurance or are on a budget, federally funded health centers may be a good alternative option for you. In these facilities, you are able to receive therapy and pay only what you can afford based on your income. This will make it easier for your to get treatment without paying too much money.
- There is an that can help you find a health center in your area.
Get government funded healthcare.Government funded healthcare, such as Medicare and Medicaid, provide free health insurance for those who qualify. These programs are offered to people over the age of 65 and to those with low incomes. These insurance plans cover therapy, though there will likely be a copay you must pay when you go.
- Apply online to see if you qualify for these insurance plans.
Find a support group.There may be support group therapy in your area that is cheaper than one on one treatment. These sessions may be offered at a flat fee per session or per month.
- These are often issue focused, such as sessions for OCD, anxiety, or depression. Look for sessions that deal with the mental health issue you need help with.
- Local religious organizations may also offer free counseling services with trained counselors as well, so look for these in your area.
Try university counseling services.Many large universities have cheap counseling services offered through psychology, psychiatry, or behavioral therapy departments. In these departments, you can get appointments with graduate students who provide treatment under supervision. The graduate students get experience hours and you get lower cost therapy.
- These sessions may not be open to the public, so check with the university you go to, work for, or that is in your area to see if there are programs available to you.
- If you are unsure of how to approach people in these departments, think about writing an e-mail or calling them for more information. Start with things such as, "I am looking for some counseling help. Do you think there is anyone here that can help me?" or "I've heard you offer counseling services. Is there a way I can sign up for a few sessions?"
Look into crisis care services.Local health departments often have crisis care centers that help with mental health. These organizations may be able to help you over the phone or come to your home, especially if you need help with a mental health crisis.
- These organizations also help connect you to appropriate care in your area that fits into your price range.
- When you call these centers, try to explain exactly what kind of crisis you are having. Tell them, "I am having trouble with [mental health issue.] Is there someone there who can help me?" or "I am feeling very overwhelmed and don't know how to deal with it. Is there someone I can talk to?"
Consider clinical trials.Clinical trials are US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved tests of medications and methods that help them get approved for mass use. You can volunteer for theses trials to receive free experimental care. There are risks involved in these kinds of trials. The methods, since they are still in the test phase, may not always be effective and there may be some unpleasant side effects.
- To look for clinical trials, check the .
- Many of these trials offer monetary reimbursement for your time commitment and participation.
- Eligibility for these vary, so check with the different trails to see if you qualify.
Finding the Right Kind of Therapy
Find a general therapist.There are some online databases that may help you narrow down your therapist search. The American Psychological Association has an that lets you search for a therapist by specialization, gender, insurance accepted, geographical area, languages spoken, cultural background, and sexual orientation.
- The locator's specialization option will help you find a therapist for the mental health issues for which you are seeking treatment, such as domestic abuse, depression, body dysmorphic disorder, anorexia, or trauma related issues.
Get a therapist for anxiety and depression.There are certain therapists who specialize in anxiety and depression, which will be the best kind of therapist if you suffer from these disorders. The Anxiety and Depressions Association of America has a that will allow you to look for therapists that specialize in these mental health issues.
- You can search geographically as well as by type of issue you have, such as agoraphobia, bipolar disorder, or generalized anxiety disorder.
Look for a therapist for stress disorders.If you suffer from stress-related issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or issues related to trauma or natural disasters, you can look for a therapist specifically trained in that area. The International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies has an that will help you find a therapist in your area.
- You can also narrow it down by languages spoken, issues the therapists covers, or the age group the therapist works with.
Find help if you are at risk for suicide.There are many different organizations that offer help if you are at risk for suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a that vary depending on whether you are a suicide survivor or just thinking about it.
- There is also a hotline you can call 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. If you are outside the US, look for a number to help you.
Look for help with substance abuse.The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) put together an for services that help with substance abuse. The locator uses your geographical location to find you help in your area.
- This organization also helps you find help for specific substance abuse problems, such as pain relievers, heroine, or alcohol.
Find a therapist who specialized in behavioral and cognitive therapy.If you believe that your mental health issue would benefit from behavioral and cognitive therapy, there is a put together by the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies that will help you find one in your area.
- Cognitive behavior therapy is a type of short-term, goal-oriented treatment, generally between six and 22 sessions, that helps teach you certain skills that will help you change your behavior to improve your mental health.
QuestionWhat if all of this is unavailable in my area or inapplicable to me? I've also tried services like 7cups and they only leave me feeling worse.DexterTheCat02Community AnswerTry getting a close help from a friend or loved one, someone who is kind and caring but not afraid to tell the truth. I often end up as therapy for a couple of my friends, and it usually helps. There are also plenty of Facebook forums and groups where people with similar issues gather, and they provide the best advice possible.Thanks!
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