When you’re struggling with your mental health, dealing with your finances feels exponentially more difficult. For example, if you are not feeling up to getting out of bed, you probably don’t have the energy to budget and meal plan. If you feel anxious about your debt, you may avoid opening bills and rack up late payments. Ironically, even though mental health challenges can make it harder to address financial issues, the expense of getting help can be a barrier in and of itself. If cost is standing in your way of getting therapy or other mental health care, consider the following options:
1) Call your health insurance company
If you have health insurance, this is the place to start. Call your health insurance provider to ask for details about what mental health services are covered under your plan. Request a list of providers who are in-network and accepting new patients. You might also be able to find this information on your insurance provider’s website.
2) Check if you have an Employer Assistance Program (EAP) through your employer
Some employers offer EAPs to help connect their employees with personal services. The services can range depending on the employer, but they may include a limited number of therapy sessions or will help to connect employees with mental health providers in their area that are covered under their insurance.
3) Find an affordable therapist through the Open Path Collective
The Open Path Collective is a nonprofit organization that can connect people in financial need with therapists who charge $30-$60 per session. They are focused on helping people who can’t afford to pay market rates for insurance and are uninsured or underinsured. There is a one-time $60 fee to join the collective.
4) Try an online therapy
If your insurance doesn’t cover traditional therapy, out-of-pocket online therapy might be more economical than paying for an in-person therapist. One such online therapy company, BetterHelp, connects clients with therapists and charges between $60-$90 per week (billed monthly).
5) Seek mental health care from practitioners in training
Teaching programs that train therapists and other mental health professionals often offer low-cost services to local community members. While the sessions are performed by trainees, the students are supervised by faculty or staff.
6) Take advantage of your FSA or HSA
Give yourself a “discount” on your mental health services by using your flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) to pay for it. Because you aren’t paying taxes on this money, you can afford more therapy sessions than you could with just your paycheck. Having these funds deducted automatically from your pay can also help you budget for the expense.
Mental health and financial health are undeniably connected and prioritizing your mental health will pay off in the long run. While it’s worth it to consider your most affordable options, everything financial is fixable, so don’t be afraid to put your mental health first.