Nowadays, you can’t expect to discuss the concept of ‘wellness’, without including the mention of mental well-being. It’s become a crucial part of overall conversations about health that medical professionals, the government, and even employers are speaking up about. Despite this surge of mental health awareness, however, mental health treatment isn’t always as accessible as it should be—namely, a lack of affordability. 

The average therapy session ranges between $100 and 200–and that can be with insurance. These pricey services are even more out of reach to people who don’t have health coverage. Fortunately, the increased emphasis on the importance of mental health has led to the creation of several ways to make therapy affordable. 

How to Pay for Therapy on a Budget

Recognized to be just as important as exercise and nutrition, one of the most meaningful changes in how society views mental health is that therapy isn’t something you only seek out when something’s wrong. And just as one goes to a physician for regular check-ups even when they’re healthy, the same benefit goes for checking on the mind as well. 

That’s why it’s so crucial that money isn’t a barrier to this very essential health service. Fortunately, there are several options for low-cost—or sometimes even free—therapy. 

Look for sliding-scale therapists

When you’re searching for the right mental health professional, one little phrase you’ll want to keep an eye out for one listed as being ‘sliding scale’. These are therapists whose costs are relative to a person’s income, helping to make therapy way more affordable. 

Find them at FindTreatment.gov or Open Path Psychotherapy Collection, both are databases that can connect you with slide-scale mental health professionals. 

Visit a community mental health clinic

If you’re not sure how to pay for therapy without insurance, one of the best places to look may be in your own backyard. Your community may have an inexpensive health clinic where mental services are offered. You can check if there’s a mental health clinic near you by visiting MentalHealth.gov. 

Another great option is to visit your local library which is likely to have recommendations for free or low-cost alternatives. 

Download a therapy app 

In our increasingly digital society, it’s only natural that mental health treatment is available through the mediums where we spend most of our time: our phones. Apps like BetterHelp offer virtual mental health services from professionals all over the country. 

However, virtual therapy may not be as effective for those with serious mental illnesses such as PTSD or schizophrenia. Additionally, while these apps can make therapy relatively more affordable, they sometimes require a membership which comes at a fee. Do not expect to find free therapy this way.

Seek group therapy

An alternative to getting one-on-one therapy with a professional is to take part in a group setting. You’ll need to decide if the decrease in cost is worth sacrificing having your therapist’s undivided attention. However, group therapy sessions are usually small enough to still feel intimate, and being around other people who are going through similar experiences or struggles as you, might even be helpful.

If you want a group therapy option that’s completely free, consider joining a peer-based support group.  There are numerous support groups, some of which are dedicated to specific conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression, PTSD, and so many others.

Find a therapist-in-training

If you find that going to a therapist is too expensive but you want that one-on-one time, going to your local college or university can offer therapy at  significantly reduced cost. Higher education institutions with mental health programs often have a clinic where graduate students offer services for a fraction of the price in order to get real-world experience. 

These students are supervised by licensed and experienced professionals so you can rest assured you’re not sacrificing cost for quality. Additionally, since these students don’t have the caseload of a full-time practitioner, you don’t have to worry about being just another number in their day. 

Need Help Paying for Therapy?

In a remarkably short period or time, recognition and acceptance of mental health—and mental illness—has grown tremendously since the concept’s origin in the mid-19th century. Still, society isn’t yet at a point where mental health treatment is available on every street corner, and because of that, finding a therapist can sometimes be expensive.

This means that if you’re wondering how to pay for therapy (especially without insurance) you’re going to need to do a lot of searching. Fortunately, the hard part has been done already. Search for mental health professionals by the state in our easy-to-navigate directory.