I wish to seek treatment for some pretty dark issues I’ve been having for the past several years. I am well below the poverty line, and I don’t trust religious people. So, I can’t go to a church and accept the free “help” there. I’ve been looking online for someone locally, but every practitioner seems to start at $60/session, and most don’t charge on a sliding scale. That’s like half my weekly pay. I’ve been trying non-stop to get a full-time job or even a second part-time job to suppliment the expense, but have had no luck. I have a petrifying fear of driving and I can’t afford a phone. So, all the helplines are ironically of no help. Is there anything I can do?
A. Psychological help can be affordable. The main low-cost option in many communities is community mental health centers (CMHCs). CMHCs often charge a sliding scale fee. In some cases, their services may be free of charge. Generally, your local CMHC can be located by doing a Google search, by checking the local Yellow and White pages, or by calling your local health department.
Another idea is to check local universities for psychological studies. Many university researchers are conducting psychological studies and are actively recruiting participants for those studies. Participating in a study may allow you access to new or cutting-edge assessment or treatment options. In some cases, study participants are paid for their involvement.
I would also suggest calling the United States Department of Health and Human Services National Mental Health Information Center, at 800-789-2647. They may be able to direct you to free or low-cost mental health counseling in your community.
Another option may be to contact your local National Alliance For The Mentally Ill (NAMI) chapter. NAMI members often are very knowledgeable about the mental health system in their respective communities. They may be able to assist you.
The fact that you have limited transportation options and you don’t have a telephone will likely hinder your ability to access treatment. Hopefully, you have a friend or family member who can assist you in accessing treatment. In the interim, I would advise you to see a primary care physician, if possible. He or she can evaluate your symptoms, make appropriate referrals and prescribe medication, if necessary. Medication could temporarily provide symptom relief while you attempt to become connected with more permanent psychological treatment options.
Finally, you may want to consider an online service such as Live Person. Here is a link where you can read more about their services. I hope you are able to find help that you desire.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 18 Jan 2012
Randle, K. (2012). Finding Help for Mental Health Problems. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/01/18/finding-help-for-mental-health-problems/