How Get Mental Health Care When You’re Young and Broke

When Jay Stephens writing for Vice asked her therapist if she had any resources for finding affordable mental healthcare that didn’t cost $216 an hour, her therapists. Her therapist recommended looking into the Department of Health and Human Services. Like most government agencies, HHS doesn’t have a great reputation for reliability or efficiency, but the affordable care it provides is your best bet if you need continuous coverage. Most people can only apply to be covered by HHS during a three-month open enrollment period at the end of the year, but those with qualifying life changes or falling below a certain income level can apply to enroll year-round. Every state has different levels of coverage, so search your area, create an account, and fill out your state’s Marketplace application to see what level of coverage you’re eligible for. HHS funds non-profit Community Health Centers to provide primary care to the underserved. You’re charged for services on a sliding scale based on income, and you can seek care at a CHC regardless of whether you’re insured.

Group therapy isn’t considered a replacement for individualized therapy, but it can be a great option if you find that you learn best about managing such mental health conditions as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or suicidal thinking by interacting with and listening to others. The American Group Psychotherapy Association has affiliate societies in 31 states which offer group therapy sessions hosted by Certified Group Psychotherapists. The availability and diversity of groups will vary by state, and most group sessions range from $30 to $80 per two-hour counseling session—which seems pricey, sure, but some one-hour individual therapy sessions cost more than double that price.

Even after getting a prescription from a Medicaid doc or CHC connection, the thought of paying for monthly refills can be daunting. But did you know that free, no-strings-attached coupons for prescription drugs exist? The Partnership for Prescription Assistance has a list of sites to check out for cards and coupons that can save you up to 85 percent on prescriptions.

Adam Wahlberg

Founder of Think Piece Publishing