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Locating a qualified therapist near you can be a challenge but the first step on the path to better mental health. There are many types of therapy out there and finding a professional to help has never been easier—once you know how to look for one. There are also very affordable therapy options making the financial burden smaller than in past decades.

Introduction

Therapy isn’t a one-off type of treatment. Addressing mental and emotional concerns can be a life-long endeavor but—at the very least—will almost certainly be one of several months. This is the first thing to consider when trying to find a new therapist: you’re going to be spending a LOT of time together.

Therapy also isn’t cheap. Much like one’s primary care doctor, therapists receive extensive medical training and go through years of education. In most cases, this results in expensive hourly rates. The good news is that insurance will help you foot the bill. Before you get excited though, check with your insurance provider. Many won’t pay up-front for therapy but may reimburse you later. That means you’ll still have to come up with the cash initially.

Sliding Scale Therapy Rates

A recent trend among mental health professionals is to adjust their rates based on a patient’s ability to pay, or for the specific type of service being provided. The BetterHelp website has a great guide on how to find affordable therapy in your area.

Hourly rates for therapists can be as high as $200 which starts to add up fast. Therapists that adhere to sliding scale pricing models are generally likelier to charge $65-$125 per hour. It’s important to recognize these rates are wholly dependant on the professionals in your area.

Low-Income or Subsidized Therapy

Many larger metro areas have clinics that offer free mental health services. These professionals are made available to community residents through varying business models, but the end result is the same: free therapy.

The obvious caveat here is that the quality of therapy is likely to be lower than premium providers. That’s certainly not a given, just likely. These types of free clinics are sometimes financed by government subsidies or staffed by students from local university programs.

Understanding how your local free clinic manages to provide free services can help better predict the quality of those services. You can find a free clinic in your area by visiting MentalHealth.gov.

Apps/Remote Therapy

There are several apps on the market that connect mental health professionals and their patients. These services can offer patient-to-provider connections at a fraction of in-person rates. Some apps offer monthly subscriptions while others offer hourly rates as low as $35-$45.

We haven’t used any of these apps enough to feel comfortable providing a recommendation, but here’s a list of only therapy programs to help get you started. Another upside of these services is that changing therapists is much easier within network.

In a matter of clicking a few buttons, your records can be accessed by a different professional. That sure beats finding another therapy office, getting records transferred, and starting from scratch!

Support Groups

Sometimes talking through issues with others in similar circumstances can be a great first step towards improving mental health. Local support groups help connect people that have experienced similar traumas, are going through similar life stages, or have had similar life events.

Support groups offer one major benefit therapists don’t: you get to hear personal stories from others that are going through what you are. Knowing you’re not alone in your struggles can be powerful. It’s also beneficial in that you can develop personal relationships with those in your group whereas therapists maintain a strict patient/provider relationship. Each has its benefit of course. Mental Health America has a great resource for finding support groups near you.

Hotlines and Crisis Prevention Centers

For more immediate mental health issues, hotlines such as suicide hotlines, crisis prevention centers, or similar services can be invaluable. If you feel you are in immediate danger there you can make use of these resources to help avoid making a decision you’ll later regret.

These hotlines are, in many cases, anonymous and won’t intervene unless your safety or the safety of others is at risk. You can learn more about these resources from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website.

Review

Mental health should never be ignored. Even if you don’t feel you have a problem, you can always work to improve your mental health. The unfortunate truth is that therapy often takes a backseat due to high hourly rates and a lack of insurance coverage.

The options discussed here are, in many cases, newly-emerging approaches for providing more affordable mental care. There are affordable options whether you’re looking for a local professional, a local support group, or a remote/online relationship with a therapist.

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