There are several affordable therapy options for various concerns and financial needs. Here are some commonly accessible outlets:
Telehealth and Mobile Apps
Telehealth, text therapy and mobile app interfaces are becoming increasingly popular forms of mental health care. The offerings are typically less expensive than traditional psychotherapy, but still show “equivalent outcomes to the standard once-a-week therapy appointment,” says Bill Hudenko, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist in Lyme, New Hampshire, and global head of Mental Health at K Health.
O’Neill recommends Sondermind and Cerebral, which connect individuals to affordable therapists. Other popular telehealth platforms include LiveHealth, Talkspace and BetterHelp, which pair you with a therapist on its platforms to chat via text or video.
Therapy Through Work or School
Castro suggests checking whether your work or school provides discounted therapy options. College students and employees may have access to a counselor through the school; however, there is typically a cap on the number of sessions you can have with that counselor.
Free mental health services are becoming more common in schools even before college, adds Castro. “There’s a lot of barriers that are eliminated when kids can go to a therapist right in their school.”
Before becoming licensed, mental health providers typically offer services for free or at a reduced cost as part of their licensing training. Castro recommends looking for schools for psychologists and master’s level clinicians in your area to see what they might offer.
Sliding Scale Therapy
There is also the chance of finding a private practice therapist who offers sessions on a sliding scale, which means the cost per session is based on your financial resources. They may even offer some free slots, according to Castro.
Open Path Psychotherapy Collective, for example, can help you find a local therapist who offers in-person and online sessions between $30 and $60.
Affordable Therapy Alternatives
“Given that there is a therapist shortage and so much demand for mental health services, I do encourage people to explore non-therapy alternatives,” says Castro. She suggests looking into resources like chat lines, peer support groups and guided self-help apps, which tend to be free or low-cost. You can also try activities like meditation or yoga to cope with minor anxiety.
These alternatives may end up suiting your needs while you wait for a therapy appointment, especially if your symptoms or concerns are on the milder side. But even if they don’t wholly address your worries, Castro still recommends checking them out, as they could serve as a helpful tool. Contact a professional if depression consumes your day-to-day, and if suicidal thoughts develop, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.