By Julia Austin
Just like it seems like health care should be available to everyone—no matter their financial status—doesn’t it seem like mental health care should be accessible by the masses, too? It’s something you may not have thought much about until you needed it.
Many individuals have this frustrating, funny and ironic situation: they slowly come to terms with the fact that they could use a little help in the mental health department, and they finally put their pride aside enough to seek out help only to find out they cannot afford it.
Talk about a kick to that pride they were just trying to ignore. Taking care of your mental well-being is just as important as taking care of your physical body. In fact, some would say taking care of your mental health is an important part of taking care of your physical body since things like eating disorders and high blood pressure can stem from mental conditions.
If you feel like you need someone to talk to but can’t pay for a private clinic, here are affordable ways to get therapy.
Reach out to your religious leader
Almost every religious center—regardless of your faith—offers free counseling. Considering that places like churches and synagogues are, in the big picture, places where groups of people seek counseling on life, it is a part of the rabbi/priest/pastor’s job to offer private counseling to members of the center.
See what your insurance covers
You may be surprised to find that your insurance covers part or all of therapy, so long as you go to one of their providers. Call them to discuss your options before looking into uncovered providers.
Add mental health benefits
If your insurance does not cover mental health providers, ask what it would cost to add those benefits. You may be able to increase your monthly premium by as little as $20 or $30. Considering that a private therapist can cost $180 a session, hiking up your premium slightly is well worth it.
Ask about a sliding scale
Many therapists offer a sliding pay scale through which they charge you based on what you make. Don’t forget to ask about this. Some may even offer pro-rated sessions if you request them. So even if they typically only offer hour-long sessions for $160, they may offer you half-hour sessions for $80.
Be a subject
Students receiving their Ph.D. in psychology or marriage and family therapist degree are constantly conducting studies on common conditions like bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, insomnia and more. Call your local universities to see if you can participate in a study. You may even be paid to receive therapy.
Cut back on your “other therapy”
If you need therapy, there is a good chance you’ve been seeking it in other ways like through alcohol, shopping, travel, interior decorating, eating at restaurants and entertainment. If you cut back on those expenses, you may be able to afford therapy. Once you’ve worked on your issues, you may not even crave those shopping trips anymore. When you think about it that way, therapy could save you money in the long run.
Ask about pro bono work
Many therapists offer pro bono work. It’s an important part of being a member of the mental health community—helping those who cannot afford therapy. They may not advertise it, but you can ask.
Call a hotline
You do not need to be suicidal or facing an immediate crisis to call a hotline. Hotlines are available to anyone who needs somebody to talk to and cannot, for whatever reason, see a therapist in person. And some hotlines are manned by trained therapists, putting in volunteer work.
Find out more ways at madamenoire.com.