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Tips For Finding Affordable Therapy & Counseling

Disclosure – I am not a medical professional. Please do your own research when looking for medical advice. 

Taking care of your mental health is more than just a luxurious act of self-care, but is crucial to leading a productive and fulfilling life. In times prior, the topic of mental health was more or less a taboo subject, but today we are free to openly discuss and pursue routes to better mental wellness.

That said, just because counseling and therapy are no longer stigmatizing services to seek out, it doesn’t mean they’re readily accessible for everyone. Even with a reputable insurance provider, the cost of receiving mental aid can be more than a little prohibitive.

Substantial copays and off-limits treatments are just a few of the obstacles that many people face – but rest assured there are ways to access affordable counseling, it just takes a bit of know-how.

Here are some common mental health conundrums you may find yourself facing and direct tips for working around them:

I Don’t Have Insurance

According to the U.S. Census Bureau report, nearly 8.5% of the US population went without health insurance in 2018, with the expected figure to be even greater in 2019.

Fortunately, a number of healthcare providers have taken this into account and have gone on to provide the uninsured with low-cost or free mental health assistance on a sliding scale basis, determined by one’s income.

Community health centers have long provided their regional areas with invaluable mental health solutions, and while the waiting list can be longer than a standard facility, the costs are kept at a minimum.

There are also university training clinics, in which graduate students studying psychology can lend assistance under the close guidance of a trained specialist, and typically for a minimal fee as well.

It’s always recommended that you keep copies of all financial documents, such as pay stubs, tax forms, and other relevant materials on hand, as you will most likely be asked to provide them upfront when pursuing any of the above options.

I Need Medication

If you are in need of prescription medication, you can speak with a licensed psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner, rather than a primary care doctor. Additionally, there are a number of prescription drug assistance programs you can contact, such as The Partnership for Prescription Assistance or

If you have been prescribed a costly name-brand medication, it may be worth requesting the generic version which is identical in all but the name and price tag.

I Am Looking For Someone To Talk To

Community health centers and free or low-cost clinics can connect you with a therapist or licensed counselor, many of whom work on a sliding scale (Psychology Today has a great directory you can check out here).

There are a growing number of web-based platforms that offer low-cost online therapy, in which all sessions are conducted via your electronic device of choice with a licensed therapist, as well as apps that offer talk support with a trained “listener.” You can find a comprehensive list of online therapy providers at

While online therapists usually charge a reasonable fee per session, many websites carry only a monthly membership fee; better still, a number of talk apps are absolutely free.

Both options are ideal for those with scheduling and/or transportation difficulties, as well as social anxiety regarding in-person office visits.

I Would Like A Group Environment In Which To Get Help

Many people prefer a group setting in which to engage in talk therapy, and they’ll be happy to hear that such programs typically cost much less than one-on-one therapy sessions.

For further assistance in finding group sessions in your area, you can refer to The National Alliance for Mental Health, as well as The American Group Psychotherapy Association.

There are also a number of wonderful (and low cost) online support groups offered through such forums as Psych Central, while The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance provide both an in-person directory of therapists, as well as an extensive listing of online groups.

Such groups are designed for all manner of mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, insomnia caused by anxiety, trauma, addiction, and personal relationships.

Online group forums are a discreet and convenient option for many with transportation or personal challenges but do make sure the appointed moderator remains impartial and professional.

My Situation Is Urgent

If you feel your situation is an emergency matter, it’s important to get help right away, either by calling 911 or a Crisis hotline (for a full listing you can refer to this page on

Both services are free, and the latter will directly connect you with a crisis counselor ready to talk immediately, and for however long you need.

While you may initially feel hesitant about discussing finances with a prospective mental health service or professional, don’t be afraid to be upfront about your situation. Doing so will help you get directed to the assistance you need in the best way possible, and allow you to avoid any unnecessary delays or worse, unexpected expenses.

It’s also worth noting that if you find that your appointed therapist or counselor isn’t a good fit, you are well within your right to request another one or look elsewhere. Therapy is a highly personal matter, and what works for one person may not work well for another.

Always keep in mind that your mental health is more than just a facet of self-care, but THE most important aspect of your wellbeing. Mental help shouldn’t be a privilege, but a right for everyone and most programs (be they free or low-cost clinics or online therapy providers) understand this.

Disclosure – I am not a medical professional. Please do your own research when looking for medical advice. 

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