February 22, 2022

Affordable Therapy Options for Mental Health

by Psych Times Staff

Though important in their respective ways, mental and physical health are equally essential to our overall well-being. Despite this, the physical body seems to take precedence over the mind when it comes to healing and recovery. This is understandable considering the obvious ways physical impairments interfere with our ability to get through the day. But what about the mental and emotional hindrances that hold us back, too?

If there were more affordable therapy options for mental health, would that change things?

For many people, pushing their mental health care to the side is an indefinite matter. One major reason is that people believe that they’ll never find affordable therapy. Not only that but healing the mind takes time – meaning more and more payments over time. In contrast, many physical concerns are often resolved by a single doctor’s visit or medication.

When you consider the commitment that therapy requires (typically a minimum of five sessions), the heftier co-pays, and out-of-pocket costs, it’s no wonder that many people do not seek treatment.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 adults in the United States experiences a mental illness each year. And less than half of that 20% seek professional help. Lack of access to affordable therapy is one of their biggest deterrents. Not knowing what kind of help to look for or where to look for it is another major obstacle.

That’s why in this article, we won’t only provide affordable therapy options to explore but how to find them. Luckily, several affordable therapy options are available for those who need to improve their mental health without breaking the bank.

Affordable Therapy Options for Mental Health

Sliding Scale Therapy

If you are looking for one of the most affordable therapy options, sliding scale therapy may be the way to go. Sliding scale therapy is a type of counseling in which fees are based on a patient’s income to make it an affordable therapy option for them.

A sliding scale therapist could be a psychotherapist, psychologist, or social worker who adjusts their hourly fee. These therapists treat general conditions like depression and anxiety and do not believe income should factor in someone receiving help.

In addition to affordable therapy setting fees for a specific income or range of incomes, some may work with you through other financial changes and hardships. In this case, fees are sometimes further adjusted.

Utilizing a sliding scale therapist may be an ideal affordable therapy option if you need to pay out-of-pocket for therapy or live in an expensive city with high co-pays. Note that not all sliding scale therapists specialize in all conditions, but you can check this when searching for one.

While not all therapists offer sliding scale therapy, there are many directories online, like goodtherapy.org, that search cities across the nation to help you find affordable therapy near you.

Support Groups

Another affordable therapy option is support groups. Support groups can take place online and in-person and typically meet weekly or monthly.

A support group comprises people who share their experiences with a certain condition or challenge and offer emotional support.

Many find this environment more beneficial than traditional therapy because they can see that they’re not alone. These groups are common for grief and loss, alcohol and substance use disorders, domestic abuse, and eating disorders – to name a few. They can also be tremendously helpful for individuals coping with a chronic health condition or disease like cancer.

Whether a structured group or a more open-ended circle, support groups welcome and encourage group communication and opinions. This means more chances to hear and heal from other people’s stories and less direct advice from the therapist.

Not only can support groups be a great affordable therapy option, but they’re also often free or have a very low cost. You can find support groups online through Mental Health America’s support group tool and on websites like Meetup.com.

Therapy Apps

Therapy apps are a newer, lower-cost option for therapy growing in popularity. These apps provide access to therapists without the need to leave your home. The typical cost for users is between $35 and $80 per week.

One of the most popular therapy apps is BetterHelp.com. With over 20,000 licensed therapists, BetterHelp offers various affordable therapy services to treat a wide range of conditions.

Mental health counseling via online therapy platforms can generally provide more affordable therapy than traditional counseling services. This is because there are no overhead costs associated with maintaining an online presence – like renting office space or hiring employees.

Several online mental health counseling platforms also accept insurance or offer a sliding scale fee so that everyone can afford it.

While therapy apps are growing in popularity, they may not be the best affordable therapy option for everyone. If you struggle with more severe conditions like addiction or schizophrenia, it is usually best to seek in-person help.

Low-Fee or Free Community Mental Health Clinics

If you do not have health insurance and cannot afford out-of-pocket costs, free or low-income mental health services may be the affordable therapy route to take.

In most cities, at least a few community mental health clinics offer low-fee or free services for affordable therapy.

While talk therapists and psychologists primarily run these clinics, many employ student counselors, student psychologists, and social workers. In this case, these employees are all supervised by licensed professionals. Expanding their services helps enable these clinics to provide such affordable therapy, often at no cost at all.

Community mental health clinics offer various services, including individual and family counseling and medication management. You can also seek treatment at these clinics for conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia – not only depression and anxiety.

If community clinics are an affordable therapy option of interest to you, it’s a good idea to start looking now. OpenCounseling.com can help you find free or low-cost support in your area, such as non-profit organizations. One drawback to be aware of is that there may sometimes be long waitlists and limited availability.

Your primary care physician can likely also help provide affordable therapy recommendations in your community.

In-Network Professionals

For those who do have health insurance, it’s worth contacting your insurance provider to see what mental health services are covered. If they do cover any, you can then ask for the contact information of local in-network therapists.

The good thing is that many therapy services take insurance. Still, it’s best to determine details like co-pays and deductibles beforehand.

Some insurance companies may even help you out if you need support for a specific condition from an expert. This would come at a higher cost, but it’s worth asking if you need an out-of-network professional.

Final Thoughts on Affordable Therapy

Finding affordable therapy doesn’t have to be difficult. Different options are available, depending on your financial situation and what you’re looking for. So, don’t hesitate to research, reach out, and get the help you need.


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