I’ve had social anxiety and severe anxiety in general for the past 2 years. It controls my life and I’ve done everything that I can to beat it, i just can’t seem to. My question is, how does someone like me go about getting help? I can’t get a job because of my anxiety, therefore I can’t pay to see a professional. It’s progressively getting worse and I don’t want to live like this. Thank you for your time.

A. I would recommend consulting your local community mental health center (CHMC). CMHCs offer sliding scale or free services, depending on your financial situation. Call the CMHC, report your situation and your symptoms. Typically, they will schedule a psychiatric evaluation. At that appointment, you will meet with a mental health professional who will assess your symptoms. You also likely will meet with staff personnel who will determine your eligibility for free services.

Another option is to call your local health department and inquire about what free services are available in your community. Research universities are another option. Researchers often are searching for participants for their studies. Individuals who take part in such studies often are compensated and may receive free medication or psychological treatment.

Generally, there are free and low-cost options available for treatment but it may take some effort on your part to locate these services. Start with the CMHC. If their staff can’t assist you, then they will likely find someone who can. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle