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With the existence of COVID-19, climate change, and social unrest, we are certainly living in turbulent times. When things get tough, people need to take stock of their lives and focus on their mental health. Unfortunately, to add to the issues of the world, the health insurance system that we use is anything but straightforward. Terms and verbiage can be confusing, many people don’t understand the type of insurance they have, and worst of all, a good number of people don’t have insurance at all.
If you are in the “no-insurance” boat, then you likely have experienced complications when trying to find the care that you need. To make matters worse, physical health always appears to be the priority, and help for mental health is often harder to find, but there is hope. Whether you are working through a dual diagnosis or you just need a mental refresh, there are ways that you can get the therapy you desire, even if you don’t have adequate insurance.
The Importance Of Therapy And How Therapists Can Help
There are many reasons that people need therapy. It could be that they are working through a continuous struggle with mood swings or another diagnosed condition, they are still trying to make it through COVID-19 and the lockdowns, or they just need someone to talk to when the worries of the world become too much. Whatever it is, it’s okay to feel the need to speak to a professional.
If you believe that you need therapy or to talk to a professional, know that you are not alone. In fact, over 45% of Americans will deal with some type of mental illness in their lifetime. Plus, half of all mental illnesses come to the surface by the age of 14. That means that parents and their children may all need to talk to a therapist at some point, and it is important that they do.
These staggering mental health numbers prove that there is a need for more services along with improved methods of finding and accessing the required assistance. While insurance reform will help, therapists can also do their part to make their services more accessible. For instance, professional therapists could enact a sliding scale when it comes to care so lower-income individuals can pay what they can and insurance reimbursements combined with patients who pay full price for their services will balance out the equation so the psychiatry practice doesn’t lose money.
There is also the option to start a group therapy model instead of seeing patients one at a time. Patients who agree to attend could get help from not only the therapist but also the other members of the group as they share their stories and try to learn from one another. Therapists with writing skills could also consider taking the techniques that they use in their one-on-one consultations and writing a pamphlet or a book that people can purchase for a lower price that they can read when they need a bit of extra support.
The point is that there are many possible solutions that professional mental health providers can offer to help those who are struggling, and with time, the hope is that they will become more available to those without insurance.
If You Have Absolutely No Insurance
Until there is a major overhaul of the mental healthcare system, those without insurance will need to find alternative arrangements to get the help that they need. Luckily, there are many resources currently available, even if you are very low on funds. One of the easiest ways to get necessary therapy without insurance, especially on an emergency basis, is to call a mental illness helpline and speak to the experts at the call center. Some of the most trusted services of this nature include the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Crisis Text Line. These services can be accessed 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Similar to the hotlines, many therapy apps are available online that provide exercises you can follow along with and the chance to speak to a licensed therapist through webcam or text. Some of the more highly recommended apps include Talkspace and BetterHelp. They often have a fee for use, but it will be much less than attending weekly sessions. While you are online, you can also look for support groups or online forums where there are like-minded individuals that you can speak to. Their companionship alone could help you to feel better.
Another great idea is to research online for low-income health services or training clinics, where students who are going to school for psychology or therapy can speak to you in a monitored setting and provide advice and guidance. Many universities have training spaces available, so call the local college to see if they can provide the help you require. These training centers are usually free as the students are gaining real-life experience as they listen to your concerns.
Less Traditional Routes
Although you may not have private insurance, there may be other possible methods of getting the therapy you seek that won’t require paying the full cost. For instance, older patients likely have access to Medicaid programs that can at least cover part of the cost of therapy. Review your Medicaid information for details, especially the section related to Part B, which covers outpatient therapy.
If you are employed, take the time to look through the benefits provided by your company. Although you may not have your health insurance through them, they may still provide an employee assistance program that may include mental health benefits. Note that there may be restrictions as to how many therapy visits may be included, but it is still worth looking into if you can get the mental health assistance you need without paying out of pocket.
Depending on your age and situation, you may also be eligible for mental health services through federal programs, especially if you have a disability that leaves you unable to work. These benefits may come in the form of social security disability insurance or supplemental security income. Either of which might include approval for therapy sessions or provide the extra income you need to attend a session.
No matter what is going on in the world or your personal life, you must prioritize your mental health. Use the tips and information provided above and get the help you need, even if you don’t have insurance.