Free or Low-Cost Solutions

A list of affordable care options

There are affordable mental health care resources outside the traditional framework. Depending upon your family’s circumstances, these may be practical options.

  1. Mental Health America, an advocacy organization with over 300 affiliates in 41 states, works with people to connect them with affordable mental-health services in their communities. Click on “local MHAs” on their homepage to find services in your area.
  2. Community Health Centers. In addition to primary-care services offered in thousands of locations across the country, they are increasingly offering mental health services. Fees are charged on a sliding scale based on income. Find a center in your area here.
  3. Community Mental Health Centers. These centers serve Medicaid and other low-income patients. State income limits vary. Click on “find a provider” here, and call to determine whether you qualify.
  4. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). Many employers offer a limited number of counseling sessions and referrals to mental health professionals through an EAP service. For some people, this may be all they need.
  5. Churches, Synagogues and Other Places of Worship. Although they are not licensed therapists, clergy members are trained in counseling, and their services are generally free.
  6. Group Therapy. Many therapists offer group sessions, which can be a less expensive alternative to traditional one-on-one counseling.

Other options: Online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) services may cost less and may help for some conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Finding partners in advocacy

Navigating medical insurance can be time-consuming and frustrating. But remember, while you are always the best advocate for your family, support is available and you are not alone. Enlist your local chapter of NAMI or the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health (FFCMH), both of which can provide support, guidance and encouragement.