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What To Do If You Can’t Afford Mental Health Treatment

What To Do If You Can't Afford Mental Health Treatment

What To Do If You Can’t Afford Mental Health Treatment

There’s no doubt about it – therapy is expensive as a mental health treatment. If you think you need help managing it within your budget, there are ways you can find therapy options that won’t break the bank.

Finding mental health help can be difficult, but it is a necessary step for many. These days, finding help can be more convenient and accessible due to online databases and online promotion. 

This article will explore options for finding therapy when you can’t afford it. 

Check your insurance first. 

Before you look for alternate options, if you have health insurance, you should check and see what’s covered. Many health plans cover mental health services, depending on the provider. For example, if you have insurance through your employer, the Health Insurance Marketplace, or Medicaid, your plan will cover vital mental health services, like: 

  • psychotherapy
  • counseling
  • inpatient services
  • substance use disorder treatment

More specific health benefits, like how much your copay or coinsurance amount, will be based on your state and health plan. However, you cannot be denied coverage.  

For those on Medicare, Medicare Part B can cover some mental health services, like an annual screening for depression.

It’s essential to consider using use an “in-network” therapist. If you use an “out-of-network” therapist, you will have to pay out of pocket and have a higher bill.

Another factor to keep in mind is that not all therapists accept insurance. So before you book your appointment, research whether a therapist takes insurance. 

Depending on the service, you may also require a referral. All in all, if you’re unsure, check with your insurance provider first before booking an appointment.  

Start an Application For A New Insurance Plan 

If your insurance plan doesn’t cover what you need, you can find a different one. For those who currently don’t have a pre-existing condition, you may be offered health coverage for therapy within a month or two after the sign-up process. 

For those who are low-income, over 55, or have a disability, Medicaid or Medicare may be an option for you. It’s worth looking into whether they can offer more coverage for therapy, depending on your location. In addition, monthly costs for Medicaid can be less than $50 or even free in some areas, depending on your financial situation. Speak to your local government health officials to learn more about specific plans and to find the right health insurance plan for your situation. 

Find Sliding Scale Providers for Mental Health Treatment

Some therapists will provide an option for a sliding scale. A sliding scale means the mental health professional may consider your financial situation and offer a lower-end fee if you cannot pay their typical fee. For example, a counselor might offer a sliding scale price of $65-$150 per hour. If you are on the lower income spectrum, a therapist may accept a price on the lower end of the scale (the $65 per hour rate). In addition, you may also find sliding-scale mental health providers who give mental health referrals, like a primary care physician. 

To find a sliding scale provider, check out our database at LGBTQ and ALL. 

Discuss Options with Your Doctor 

You can speak with your primary care physician if you need to learn how to access low-cost medical services. These professionals can refer you to therapists they know of, offering low-cost services. In addition, they may have other recommendations for outpatient mental health services that feature mental health classes or health insurance marketplace plans. 

Some physicians can even prescribe mental health medications and discuss general tips for your well-being. In addition, if you have any mental health symptoms because of physical health concerns, they can also speak with you about these issues. 

Give Online Counseling a Try for Mental Health Treatment

You can consider online counseling if you still have issues accessing mental health help. This option can be cheaper than face-to-face sessions, ranging from $65 to $90 a session instead of $100 to $200 or higher. In addition, your first session will be less costly than the following sessions. There are also some mental health benefits that you might not get from a face-to-face session, like the flexibility of attending therapy over the phone, video chat, or online chat feature. Finally, online therapy can be an even better option for many people if they are more comfortable at home. 

According to studies on the effectiveness of online counseling, it was determined that it was more cost-effective and practical overall for various mental health conditions. In addition, the APA noted that telehealth therapy is a promising new treatment that features several essential health benefits to clients.


These days, there are more alternatives to finding affordable therapy. These tips will help you search for suitable mental health treatment options. 

For more mental health tools and information, visit all of our resources at LGBTQ and All. We have an extensive list of therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals that we can connect you with to find the best treatment options possible. If you are looking for low-cost therapy options, browse through our listings and see which providers offer sliding scale or online options. 

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