A woman participating in a therapy session over the phone.
Healthy Living

How to Get Therapy on a Budget

Jan 7 2021
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Between the COVID-19 pandemic, seasonal effective disorder and many other factors, there are lots of people currently in need of mental health assistance. However, one of the top barriers to finding mental health care is money. A private therapist can be expensive, and some providers don’t accept health insurance.

Mental health and physical health go hand in hand. It is important to seek professional help if you need it. Here are some ways you can access quality therapy while on a budget.

Ask your insurance for help

If you have health insurance through your employer, call them for help. When speaking to an insurance company representative, you may be surprised at the answers you find to the following questions.

  • Is there a deductible I need to meet for therapy sessions? How much would that cost out of pocket?
  • Do I have out-of-network mental health benefits? What is the cost per session?
  • What in-network therapists in my area require only a co-pay?
  • How many visits am I allowed?

Seek employer resources

If your insurance plan doesn’t support mental health benefits, try your employer’s human resources department. Ask if your company has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

If they do, take advantage of the benefits this type of program offers. You may be able to enjoy free counseling, therapy sessions and wellness classes. Some EAP programs can recommend you to a therapist who offers sliding scale fees based on your income.

Consult with hotlines

Hotlines can be a great resource. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers free assistance via their hotline. The hotline is not just for emergencies. You can consult with them to obtain free mental health resources in your area.

Take advantage of services offered by calling 211 to access essential community services, such as mental health support services. The government funds this free help line service throughout the country. The 211 center’s referral specialists can access local resources, including affordable therapists and mental health care.

Turn to local resources

There are other local resources to tap into for affordable mental health services. You’re probably aware that you can access low-cost dental services if you live near a dental school. You can do the same when it comes to therapy. Teaching hospitals or university hospitals with mental health programs often have interns and residents who see patients on a sliding payment scale.

Or, if you live close to a university, seek out a graduate training clinic. The clinic may offer access to supervised students. The students will treat people for substantially reduced fees.

If you are seeking specific therapy, find local support groups in your area. Many groups are run by licensed therapists or counselors. Groups may focus on depression, alcoholism and substance use disorders, eating disorders and grief.

Connect with online therapy solutions

The internet has opened up a world of affordable therapy. Studies have shown that virtual therapy can be as effective as in-person sessions.

Virtual sessions are also more convenient, which means you may be more willing to continue with them. Plus, they allow you to access care from the comforts of your own home.

Here are a few valid ways to find affordable online therapy quickly:

  • Your insurance may have telehealth benefits that allow you to access therapists through virtual mental health visits.
  • Tap into the online therapy marketplace that’s independent of your insurance to find an affordable virtual therapist at a greatly reduced price.
  • Download mental health apps that offer do-it-yourself stress relief meditations and coping skills; this option may be a beneficial addition to professional therapy sessions.
  • Find licensed private therapists and therapy groups with an online presence; they typically have self-guided therapy courses you can purchase and follow at your own pace.

Again, mental health is very important. If you or your loved one is experiencing a mental health emergency, call 911 right away.

Learn about the behavioral and mental health care services we provide at Bon Secours.


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