According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, only 43.3% of U.S. adults with mental illness receive treatment. While a large part of the problem is that many of us are reluctant to admit when we need help ― the average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years ― some Americans fear that they will be unable to afford the services they need.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to find the care you need without going broke. Don’t give up ― there is a solution for you!
Start By Looking for In-Network Care (If You Have Insurance)
If you have health insurance, it may cover some mental healthcare providers in your area. Due to the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, most health plans are required to offer comparable coverage for mental and physical healthcare.
Your insurance plan will likely either manage mental health benefits internally or outsource them to a separate vendor. Check your health plan or vendor website to see which local providers are covered, what costs are associated with care, and any limitations in your benefits. There may be providers in your area who are taking new clients; if not, try the methods below to find affordable mental healthcare without insurance.
Mental Health Services That Don’t Require Insurance
Federally Qualified Health Centers
Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) are community-based healthcare centers in underserved areas that receive government funding. They provide comprehensive mental health care, behavioral health services, and primary care to patients regardless of their health insurance status or ability to pay.
FQHCs provide care on a sliding fee scale based on their ability to pay. They must meet stringent requirements, including operating under a governing board that includes patients.
Private Therapists With Sliding Scale Fees
Like FQHCs, many private therapists are willing to work on a sliding fee scale based on the client’s ability to pay. These therapists do not always advertise their flexible pay structure, so it’s a good idea to ask before assuming someone will be too expensive.
If you find a therapist who seems like a good fit but has steep hourly rates, stop to ask whether they can adjust their fee to match your financial resources. Some therapists can bring their rates down 50% or more for clients with less abundant financial resources. New therapists and interns in some areas may be able to provide care to lower-income clients for $15/hour or less.
University hospitals and nonprofits with psychology and psychiatry students are often looking for ways to put students to work. Many hospitals offer low-fee or sliding-scale psychotherapy for patients who are willing to receive care from interns and residents.
How to Find Free Mental Health Services
Find Providers that Accept Medicaid
If you do not have other health insurance and make a low income, you may be eligible for Medicaid, which provides access to free therapy through certain providers. The eligibility rules vary from state to state, so check the Medicaid website to see if you are eligible.
Try Local Psychoanalytic Training Organizations
Some Psychoanalytic Training Institutes provide free therapy to patients. Each patient receives treatment from an M.D. who is getting advanced specific training in intensive long-term treatment. Generally, patients are required to commit to psychotherapy three to five times per week for at least one to two years in order to receive free services.
Need Mental Health Services in the Puget Sound Region? Reach Out to Sunrise
Sunrise Services, Inc. helps people throughout the Puget Sound Region find mental health services, benefits, and community supports. We care for each individual and offer genuine compassion and hope. We have been helping individuals in our community with mental and behavioral health diagnoses for nearly 40 years.
If you are looking for someone to turn to for mental health care during COVID-19 and beyond, reach out to our team of compassionate professionals today.