There are several affordable therapy options for different concerns and financial needs. Here are some generally accessible outlets:
Telemedicine and mobile apps
Telemedicine, 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 results 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.
He recommends Sondermind and Cerebral, which connect individuals with affordable therapists. Other popular telehealth platforms include LiveHealth, Talkspace, and BetterHelp, which pair you with a therapist on their platforms to chat via text or video.
Therapy through work or school
Castro suggests checking if your work or school offers discounted therapy options. College students and staff may have access to a counselor through the school; However, there is usually a cap on the number of sessions you can have with that advisor.
Free mental health services are becoming more common in schools, even before college, Castro adds. “There are many barriers that are removed when children can go to a therapist directly in their school.”
Before being licensed, mental health providers typically offer free or reduced-cost services as part of their licensing training. Castro recommends looking for master’s-level psychologist and clinician schools in your area to see what they might offer.
There is also the option of finding a registered therapist who offers tiered sessions, meaning the cost per session is based on your financial means. According to Castro, they can even offer some free slots.
For example, Open Path Psychotherapy Collective can help you find a local therapist that offers in-person and online sessions ranging from $30 to $60.
Affordable therapy alternatives
“Given the shortage of therapists and the high demand for mental health services, I encourage people to explore non-therapeutic alternatives,” Castro says. She suggests looking at resources like chatlines, peer support groups, and guided self-help apps, all of which are typically free or inexpensive. You can also try activities like meditation or yoga to help manage mild anxiety.
These alternatives may meet your needs while you await an appointment for therapy, especially if your symptoms or concerns tend to be mild. But even if they don’t fully address your concerns, Castro still recommends checking them out, as they could serve as a helpful tool. See a professional if depression takes over your everyday life, and if suicidal thoughts arise, call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Connect with an advisor
If you are in a crisis or have suicidal thoughts, call Mental Health America’s 24-hour helpline at 1-800-273-8255 or send a message on their live online chat service for immediate assistance obtained from a trained advisor. If you are in immediate danger, call 911.