Psychotherapeutic services require a very personal connection with a provider, and it is not uncommon for someone to not “connect” with various providers. The important thing is to find one that you/your loved one trusts and where you feel “heard” by the provider. Keep in mind that it can take some trial-and-error to find the right treatment team.
You may also wish to visit our Mental Health Treatment & Services page where you can read about Psychosocial Treatments and Complementary Health Approaches. In the meantime, you may want to consider the following resources for finding an affordable mental health provider:
- To begin with, you may wish to consult your local NAMI Affiliate regarding low-cost mental health clinics in your area. To find your nearest NAMI Affiliate, click on your state through the Find Your Local NAMI menu.
- SAMHSA is a government organization that maintains a database of low-cost treatment facilities across the United States and is the “go-to” resource for locating affordable mental health care nationwide. Contact SAMHSA at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or online at their Treatment Locator.
- Federally-funded health centers can also be a good resource for those without health insurance or with a limited budget. You pay what you can afford, based on your income. Many of these centers include mental health services. Find a federally funded health center near you.
- Some colleges and universities offer low-cost therapy for anxiety disorders and other mental health problems. Call the psychology, psychiatry, or behavioral health department and inquire about sessions with graduate students, who are supervised and can provide services at a lower cost as they gain counseling experience. Keep in mind that these sessions aren’t always open to the public; some departments may limit them to students of that college or university.
- You may wish to investigate programs that connect low-cost therapists to patients such as Open Path a psychotherapy collective that connects people in genuine financial need with private therapists who can lower their costs per session. Rather than paying per session, clients sign up once and pay a lifetime membership fee, which provides access to the discounted rates on therapist sessions in the future.
- Online therapy is becoming more popular, from chats with actual therapists to free downloadable tools and worksheets. Some options, like BetterHelp, TalkSpace or 7 Cups of Tea, charge a fee per week, which is often more affordable than traditional counseling.
- Your local house of worship might have offer Pastoral counseling from a trained minister, rabbi, priest, imam, etc., which is usually free. Most counselors, if not all, will be members of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors so they will have proper training. If your house of worship does not offer Pastoral counseling, it is worth checking if they have a fund that might help you pay for outside therapy.
- Websites, such as Helpwhenyouneedit.org and www.211.org, allow you to conduct a zip-code-based search for local resources including affordable medical & mental health clinics, housing, food, employment, etc.
- If you are a student, consider taking advantage of any free campus resources (and ask for the availability of a student discount elsewhere).
- If you are employed, you may wish to explore whether or not your employer offers an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP). An EAP is an employer-paid benefit that is separate from your medical plan. It is designed to help employees through challenging situations. Typically, employees can access counseling through the EAP for no cost. As the EAP is designed to provide short-term assistance, there is usually a limit (ranging from three to eight) to the number of free counseling sessions. If you are not sure if you have an EAP plan, call the 800 number of the back of your insurance card or call the HR department.
A final note - for individuals who are self-pay, some providers offer a sliding-fee scale that allows people to pay based on their personal income and what they can afford. If you have concerns about cost, be direct and honest with your provider. When you first call to make an appointment, say, “This is the insurance I have, do you take that insurance? If I can’t make my co-payment, then what do you do? What do you offer for people who don’t have resources to pay your fee?”