Mental health is a vital aspect of our well-being. Focusing on our mental wellness affects our mood, energy levels, relationships, ability to do our jobs, ability to contribute to our community, and so much more. Yet, financial barriers often prevent many from seeking the care they deserve. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month this May, I want to share some insights on how to navigate the high price of mental health services.

Understanding Your Options: The first step in addressing the cost of mental health services is to understand the range of options available. From therapy sessions to medication and specialized treatments, knowing what you need and what each option entails can help you make informed decisions about your care.

Insurance Coverage: Explore your insurance coverage thoroughly. While mental health services may be covered under your plan, the extent of coverage can vary widely. Take the time to review your policy, including copays, deductibles, and any limitations on the number of sessions or types of treatments covered.

Seeking Affordable Alternatives: Don’t hesitate to explore more affordable alternatives if traditional therapy sessions are beyond your budget. According to an analysis by Happify Health, the annual cost for a person with severe depression is $10,836. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Many communities offer low-cost mental health services through clinics, universities, or non-profit organizations. Online therapy platforms and support groups can also provide cost-effective options for seeking help.

Utilizing Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): If you’re employed, check if your workplace offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). These programs often provide confidential counseling services at no cost to employees, serving as a valuable resource for addressing mental health concerns.

Negotiating Fees: Don’t be afraid to negotiate fees with mental health professionals. Some therapists may offer reduced rates for those facing financial hardship or could be willing to work out a payment plan that fits your budget. It’s worth having an open and honest conversation about your financial constraints.

Exploring Crowdfunding Platforms: Crowdfunding platforms like AngeLink can be a lifeline for individuals struggling to afford mental health services. By sharing your story and reaching out to your network for support, you can raise funds to cover therapy sessions, medication costs, or other necessary treatments.

Advocating for Policy Change: Advocate for policy changes at the local and national levels to improve access to affordable mental health care. Support initiatives aimed at expanding insurance coverage for mental health services, increasing funding for community mental health programs, and reducing stigma surrounding mental illness.

Prioritizing Self-Care: While navigating the financial challenges of accessing mental health services, remember to prioritize self-care. Engage in activities that promote mental well-being, such as exercise, mindfulness practices, and spending time with loved ones. Building a strong support network can also provide invaluable emotional support during difficult times.

Paying for mental health services can be a daunting task, but by understanding your options, advocating for yourself, and seeking support from both traditional and alternative sources, you can access the care you need to prioritize your well-being. Let’s work toward breaking down the barriers to mental health care and ensure that everyone has access to the support they deserve.

Gerry Poirier

Founder & CEO, AngeLink