12 Free or Cheap Paths to Mental Health Resources

Mental health can be expensive. But it doesn’t have to. Your health and safety is the highest priority. Here’s how to get the help you need.

You don’t need another article telling you that the past few years have taken their toll on women’s well-being.

What would really help is, well, help – or at least resources to access it.

“Most people think of therapy as an expensive indulgence, when the truth is there are plenty of affordable options available,” writes Dr Supatra Tovar, clinical psychologist, dietitian and fitness expert. “And with the stress we are under today, the need has never been greater.”

So let’s go. Here are 12 money-saving tips and resources to explore to boost your mental well-being.

Review your insurance policy

“In recent years, many insurance companies have expanded their level of mental health coverage,” Tovar says, adding that many people might be surprised at what’s on offer within their network. Additionally, she notes, many policies now offer full or partial reimbursement for out-of-network therapists.

Find Community Health Centers

Such centers are government-funded and typically work with Medicaid-qualified individuals, Tovar writes, adding that they typically employ qualified therapists who complete licensing hours while completing college or who have recently graduated.

Consult local medical and/or psychology school

While some schools may require you to commit to a two- or three-year service agreement, they often offer free therapy to psychology or psychiatry students, Tovar shares.


Group therapy is a cost-effective option, writes Dr Mary Gresham, clinical psychologist. Noting that original thinking can be key to meeting mental health needs, Tovar notes that there are many free or low-cost groups on sites such as To meet Where Facebook groups.

Find resources through Open Path Psychotherapy Collective

A non-profit network committed to offering very low rates, Open Path Psychotherapy Collective includes a network of therapists willing to work with those in need, writes Tovar.

Consider telehealth options

“Instead of making arrangements and scheduling time to get to the therapist’s office, you can simply stand in front of a camera right before your session starts,” writes Tovar, who notes that the telehealth boom is ” wonderful news for anyone living in rural and remote areas, provided they have adequate internet access.

Tovar suggests checking therapist search options on local psychology association websites or searching through psychology today. Telehealth therapy platforms can also help you find support.

Find the right fit

Whether you meet in person or online, a connection with your therapist is essential. “Finding quality mental health care can be frustrating and can take time to find the right person, so patience is key. If you don’t feel a connection or have trouble trusting your therapist, then that person isn’t the right person for you,” Tovar writes.

Noting an increase in therapist burnout, she notes that “if your therapist is visibly tired, has difficulty with compassion and empathy, is stressed, angry, or emotional during the session, you may wish to relieve her burden by seeking care elsewhere”.

Add to your toolbox

Apps to support meditation and mindfulness practices abound; Preview timer is a guided meditation app that offers hundreds of free meditations on a variety of topics, notes Gresham.

Although Gresham advises to exercise caution before turning to television or social media, she notes that some online resources can be helpful. (She suggests checking out the offers from the The Science Center of the Great Good at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania.)

Take some time for yourself

“I encourage my clients to take at least a few minutes a day to give themselves a chance to reset their nervous system,” Tovar writes. Even two minutes of slow inhaling and exhaling, taking a short walk outside, calling a friend, stretching for five minutes, or taking a hot bath can do wonders for your stress levels and mental health, according to Tovar.


“In addition to therapy, one of the best interventions is vigorous exercise,” writes Gresham. While it can be hard to start when you’re depressed, she notes, “there are immediate benefits because you’ll start releasing neurotransmitters and endorphins.”

Do you remember the Student Services Fee? See what it covers

If you’re a student, your school may include mental health care as part of your student health costs, Tovar writes. Adding that those seeking care need to be persistent, she notes that many slots are open due to the higher than average cancellation rate for student services.

Do not wait. Call now

“If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK is free, open 24/7, and completely confidential. They can also connect you with services at low cost after you call,” writes Tovar, adding that it’s important to avoid going to local ERs if you don’t have insurance because you could get a very high medical bill later.


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