Photo Credit: Tatiana Syrikova
If the past three years have shown us anything, it is that taking care of our mental health is an absolute necessity. It is especially important to prioritize our mental health in this ever changing world that we are living in. But with the state of healthcare and the economy in this country, therapy has become a luxury. Access to adequate health care should not be a luxury, and seeing a mental health provider should not be something that places a heavy burden on your bank account.
It is a difficult space to navigate, with the healthcare system needing massive overhaul and with mental health care providers being undervalued. Psychotherapists attend school for many years and complete thousands of hours prior to licensure, all while underpaid. For mental health care providers to be able to make a sustainable living, manage their own burnout, and pay back the student loans that they've likely taken out to complete their education, they enter private practice. But typically, the cost of seeing a therapist out of pocket in private practice is higher than seeing a therapist in community mental health or through your insurance. It is difficult because while many in my profession are undervalued, underpaid, extremely burnt out and are very much deserving of making a comfortable living, there are still millions of Americans that are struggling with their mental health but cannot afford support.
If your financial situation is currently strained and private practice therapy is not something you can afford in your budget, there are plenty of other options that you can access to get support. Although adequate healthcare is something that is difficult to have for many in this country, there are still ways for you to get support for your mental health. Here are resources that you can utilize if you need psychotherapy but are on a tight budget:
1. Your School Provider
Schools, colleges, & universities often provide counseling services that their students can access.
2. Your Insurance or Public Healthcare
Many insurance providers can at least partially cover psychotherapy services. If you live in a country that includes free mental health care services through their public healthcare system, this could be a good option.
3. Your Employer
Many places of employment offer employee assistance programs, also known as EAP. You can access free therapy services through this program. Health benefits through work can also include mental health services.
4. Sliding Scale Services
Many therapists in private practice, myself included, offer sliding scale services to those in financial need. The cost of therapy is based upon the client's ability to pay.
5. Crisis Hotlines
Hotlines are free and confidential. You also don't have to be in crisis to access them. Hotlines are a great resource to receive some support.
6. Community Mental Health Centers
Here in Orange County, there are several great community mental health centers that offer sliding scale services to those in financial need. See the list at the end of this blog post.
As mentioned earlier, there are still a number of great avenues that you can access to support your mental health even if you cannot afford full fee services at this time. Let this serve as a reminder that there is no better time than now to begin prioritizing, nurturing, and caring for your overall wellness.