So you or a loved one have decided that you need mental health help. What’s the next step to take? Finding a provider can feel overwhelming. In this post we’ll discuss affordable mental health treatment and where to find it.
Where To Start If You Have Insurance
When looking for mental health services, there are several ways to approach it. If you have health insurance coverage, you can look at your provider’s website or their written materials to find out which mental health providers are covered by your insurance. You can also ask your health care provider to recommend someone.
It’s also important to understand what mental health services are covered, whether you need a referral from your family physician (PCP), and if there are any limits to how many visits or hospital days are covered. Once you understand these things, you’re ready to call a provider. Always verify that the provider accepts your insurance before making an appointment.
If Medicare covers you, this article provides helpful information about covered mental health services: https://www.medicareplans.com/mental-health-care-outpatient-for-medicare/
Mental Health. gov provides info on mental health care for veterans, crisis line numbers, + lots more at their site: https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help
FAIR Health Consumer is a non-profit organization that provides fair and neutral information about health insurance and the costs of medical procedures. If you are having trouble understanding your health insurance policy or medical bills, check here for more info: https://www.fairhealthconsumer.org/insurance-basics/home
Whether you’re covered by health insurance, you can also go to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration) page where you can enter your zip code and get a list of providers in your area. https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/
Finding Affordable Mental Health Treatment When You Don’t Have Insurance
Accessing mental health care is possible even if you don’t have health insurance. The Penny Hoarder has a very useful article called 12 Ways to Find Free or Low-Cost Mental Health Services. Below, I’ll cover most of them.
The Top 4 Places To Check First
- If you are a student or parent, check with your school for services for yourself or your child. Many schools offer counseling services to their students.
- Another source of possible help is through your employer. Check if your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program. Many hospitals and government jobs plus some large companies offer this service to their employees.
- Negotiate and ask for discounts. A provider might accept whatever you can afford for therapy. I did this with my therapist.
- Find your local Community Mental Health Center by entering your zip code into the SAMHSA website above or by going to your state’s government website and looking for Health and Human Services. These centers use a sliding scale based on your income.
Places to Look For Affordable Mental Health Care If The Above Don’t Work For You
- If you have a local YMCA in your area, they may offer counseling services. Use this link to see if there is one in your area: https://www.ymca.org/find-your-y
- Join a local support group.
“While you miss out on the personalized care and complete anonymity of private sessions, support groups can be the perfect solution for free or low-cost therapy. Organizations like the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) host free community support groups in person or online.”“12 Ways to Find Free or Low-cost Mental Health Services”, The Penny Hoarder
- See an online therapist or use a therapy app. For example, Teledoc provides virtual therapy and psychiatry appointments.
- “If you’re seeking safe and affirming support as an LGBTQ person, look for local LGBTQ centers and support or advocacy organizations.” Check these links: LGBTQ Support and Advocacy Groups,
The Trevor Project for LGBTQ youth,
and PFLAG support for allies and families.
- Join a therapy collective. “Open Path is a nonprofit psychotherapy collective that offers low-cost counseling for people with financial need. You can join the collective for a onetime fee of $59, then receive care for between $30 and $60 per session (up to $80 for couple and family sessions).”
- Check your local faith community for counseling services.
- If you know what mental health condition you have, search the internet for organizations that focus on that condition. See the above article for specific suggestions. Just make sure that you are getting your information from reliable sources.
If your doctor determines that you need medication to calm your symptoms down, you may worry about how you’re going to afford it. You may wonder why you need medication. Mental health medications reduce your symptoms so you can function better and be able to think clearly enough to start to work on the issues troubling you. The Ultimate Guide to Drug Discounts will help you afford your prescribed medication. You can also talk to your doctor about the cost of your medicine. They will work with you to find a more affordable drug and/or give you samples while you wait for insurance/drug assistance program approval or coverage.
Wrap-Up Of How To Access Affordable Mental Health Treatment
Caring for your mental health is every bit as important as caring for your physical health. Finding affordable mental health treatment that works for you will take a bit of time and research, but it is doable. Don’t let a lack of insurance prevent you from getting the care you need.
You can click here to see the other mental health posts on this blog: https://www.upbeatliving.net/category/mental-health/
Or enter a topic like “anxiety,” “depression” or “stress” in the search bar for a specific mental health topic.
Till next time, Kathy
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