We talked about why therapy is important and thoughts and behavior cycles that may prevent us from going to therapy, but financial responsibilities may prevent us from getting the mental health services that we need. Let’s discuss some of the options that may be available to you to help you get the mental health treatment you are looking for.
One way is to use your insurance. Most therapists are on various insurance plans to help make therapy more available. I have noticed that there are some insurances that does not cover the cost of mental health but they have amazing coverage for health issues. In those cases, I would recommend talking to the therapist about possible sliding scale option if the self-pay rate is out of your budget. A sliding scale is basically a discounted payment option.
Some other options include researching possible nonprofits and/or community resources that are available. Some agencies receive grants from time to time that allows them to provide a much cheaper sliding scale rate or at times free of cost to you. Keep in mind that if you are struggling with something extremely specific that requires specialization, that treatment may not be available in those locations. Contacting your local National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) or 211 can help narrow down some agencies to help with your research.
Another low-cost option is utilizing the universities that offer a counseling program. Generally, those universities have a counseling center for the students studying to become a therapist to provide services and are supervised by a licensed supervisor. Some may hesitate because “these are students” but all of us were students at one point which keeps the cost low and your case is being reviewed with their supervisor which allows more time to gather resources for you.
Another option that is utilized much less than it needs to be is your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAP is offered at most workplaces to help the employees deal with various stressors and provide resources to solve the issues. This could include things like financial education, healthy lifestyle tips, ‘x’ number of counseling sessions to get you started, etc. The numbers of counseling sessions may not be enough to help you completely clear your stressor but it is a free service to you and helps you get to know the counselor and discuss future payment options.
As you can see, there are multiple ways you can start budgeting for your mental health. I can’t stress the importance of a well-balanced healthy lifestyle (including mental health) in your quality of life. This is an investment in yourself where you learn healthy ways of coping with relationships, stressors, work-life balance, etc. It’s okay to prioritize yourself!