Holm says that affordable treatment options can help anyone who’s struggling seek services sooner, which can improve treatment outcomes and shorten the duration of treatment, all while providing relief to the patient. Outpatient therapy and mental health services can cost between $100 and $500 according to research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, depending on the kind of doctor you’re seeing, where you live, and what your insurance covers.
This is what it’s like to live with depression:
The good news is that there are plenty of options to get the support you need either for free or at a very low cost:
Services Under $10
The option: Support organizations
The details: Nonprofit support organizations such as the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America host a variety of free community support groups both in person or online. If you want counseling from a therapist but you don’t have insurance or can’t afford private sessions, ask about the option for group sessions. These often come at a much lower rate that you can easily pay out of pocket, for as little as $10 a session.
The option: “Telehealth” apps
The details: At first glance, it’s easy to be skeptical of the idea, but telehealth, where patients connect with doctors over apps via text or video-chat, is a legitimate option that could ultimately save you a ton of money on health care. NAMI’s AIR app is a free group therapy app that connects users with a community of people with similar mental health conditions as well as their caregivers. Moodnotes, which costs just $3.99 in the iTunes App Store, uses cognitive behavioral therapy as inspiration to help users work through their thoughts and escape the spiral of negative feelings.
The option: Free services at your school or religious organization
The details: College students or those involved with organized religious groups can likely find counseling readily available. Student services are likely already subsidized by your tuition, too. In addition to free support groups where you can connect with people in similar situations, these communities may even offer free individual or couples counseling.
Services under $25
The option: Training clinics
The details: Usually located near or within universities, training clinics offer therapy sessions with future practitioners that need experience working with the public before they become licensed clinical or counseling psychologists. These sessions are usually with a graduate student that is being supervised by a licensed psychologist and are usually offered for around $25 or less, making it a great option for those needing to save money on mental health services. Search the Association of Psychology Training Clinics website to find an option in your area.
The option: Community mental health centers
The details: Community mental health centers are known for providing free or low-cost therapy services covered by Medicaid insurance. You can find these by searching through the Department of Human Services within your state’s government website, which you can find through a quick Google search. Similarly, many private non-profit organizations such as the YMCA offer low-cost and sliding pay scale behavioral health services like individual and family counseling.
The option: A la carte-style online counseling services
The details: Blah Therapy is another, more individualized kind of telehealth, which provides online counseling services with trained, licensed, and certified professionals. The website’s Therapists Chat section offers live one-on-one therapy sessions for just $25 each. Similarly, Talkspace is an app that provides individual therapy starting at just $25.
Services under $100
The option: In-office psychotherapy service memberships
The details: Open Path Psychotherapy Collective, a nationwide network of mental health professionals, offers a lifetime membership, which costs $49, and guarantees access to trained specialists that typically work in private practices at a lower cost of between $30 and $50 a session at any point in time. The membership fees are used to subsidize the specialists and, as the site says, can be considered an investment for your entire life.
The option: Extended online counseling subscriptions
The details: Lantern offers personalized eight- to 12- week cognitive behavioral therapy programs, pairing users with one of their 25 licensed therapists. These programs start at $49 a month and the therapists are accessible via computer or smartphone. Similarly, Better Help, the largest online counseling platform out there, offers affordable, unlimited access to licensed counselors via live chat, phone, and video sessions for as little as $35 to $70 per week.
The option: Low-cost cognitive therapy clinics
The details: The Academy of Cognitive Therapy’s website allows you to view listings for clinics, which differ from private practices because they’re a community of professionals that sometimes work with patients together, offering group therapy programs and even clinical trials, which can help expose patients to new, more unique kinds of therapy that might be useful. Plus, most sessions cost less than $100.